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Black Unemployment Reaches All-Time Low


A woman sitting on an airplane with a laptop.


​Despite an economy in flux, Black workers are landing jobs at record numbers.

New data released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in May showed the unemployment rate for Black U.S. residents shrunk to a record-low 4.7 percent in April—the first time the rate fell below 5 percent since the department began tracking the statistic for Black individuals in 1972.

The unemployment rate for the group may be driven in part by a drop in labor force participation by Black individuals, from 64.1 percent in March to 63 percent in April. Their unemployment rate remains higher than that of white (3.1 percent) and Asian (2.8 percent) individuals.

The previous record-low unemployment rate for Black individuals was 5.3 percent in 2019, as The Wall Street Journal noted. In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the nation, the rate for the group soared to 16.8 percent. (All rates are seasonally adjusted.)

SHRM Online gathered additional news on this topic.

Black Employees Among Those Receiving Biggest Pay Raises

Black workers, young employees and low-wage earners saw the largest pay increases in 2022. The median raise for Black individuals employed full time was 11.3 percent, compared with the prior year.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Black Workers' Progress in the World of Work

Black employees deal with workplace challenges that many other groups do not. Kelisha B. Graves, an educator and author, discussed how employers can help Black workers overcome systemic barriers by embracing diversity, equity and inclusion.

(SHRM Online)

The Past and Future of Workplace Safety for Black Americans

Data from the DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics show the share of fatalities among Black workers reached an all-time high of 12.6 percent in 2021, with most in the transportation industry or related to workplace violence. Black or African American workers had a fatality rate of 4.0 per 100,000 full-time workers, compared with an average of 3.6 for all workers.

(Department of Labor)

Nearly Half of Black Workers Want to Quit

Black workers are among the most unhappy employees, with 49 percent saying they want to quit, according to a recent Indeed survey. Pay transparency, a misalignment of personal values with company values and the desire for more diverse leadership contribute to these negative feelings.

(CNBC)

Black Employees Are Penalized for Self-Promotion, Study Finds

Employees are regularly told to share their accolades and achievements to appear more favorable to managers. But a 2022 study indicated that Black employees who engage in self-promotion are rated less favorably on job performance and person-organization fit measures compared with white, Hispanic and Asian employees.

(Forbes)


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