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Bureau of Labor Statistics Report Shows Black, White Unemployment Gap Has Shrunk to All-Time Low

In June, the Black unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent but was still much higher than the national unemployment rate. (Photo by Chris Ryan /Getty Images)

The persistent gap between the Black and white unemployment rates in America fell to a record low last month, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bureau’s latest report revealed that, in June, the share of Black Americans out of work in the labor force decreased to 7.1 percent, the lowest it’s been since April 2000, Business Insider reported. The 1.5-percent decrease from last year’s rate is credited with helping create the smallest Black-white unemployment gap on record.

“This trend is exactly what we want to see,” said Eloise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

Overall, the U.S economy added nearly 222,000 jobs in the same month, exceeding economists’ expectations, according to Business Insider.

Despite this promising job growth, Black unemployment remained significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which sits at just 4.4 percent. Moreover, the share of jobless African-Americans was still higher than the white unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.

Gould attempted to find the silver lining in all this, however, and highlighted the fact that while the unemployment rates for nonwhite workers remain much higher than those for white workers, Black unemployment has fallen faster than overall unemployment in the past year.

“At the current rate of growth, it is clear that employers need to do little to attract and retain the workers they want and any significant signs of labor shortages are simply not showing up in the data,” she said in a statement, noting that nominal wage growth was still lagging.

“Overall, [the] report shows a recovery continuing to chug along, but with wage growth below target levels, it is abundantly clear that we have a ways to go before we reach genuine full employment — where workers see better wage growth and workers who have been sitting on the sidelines see better job opportunities.”

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