The Human Cost: ‘When hiring slows, Black workers get pushed so far back that they drop out’: Why Fed’s rate hikes will put Black jobs at risk

by | Sep 11, 2022 | Stock Market

Entrenched discrimination and family demands mean that fewer Black Americans can take advantage of a strong labor market like many of their white counterparts even as more jobs were added in August. Most worrisome, the Black segment of the population is particularly vulnerable if the economy sinks closer to recession. The U.S. labor market gained 315,000 jobs in August, a sign of a robust labor market. The overall unemployment rate inched up from 3.5% to 3.7%, but it’s still low by historical standards. 

The unemployment rate for African Americans is, however, much higher. It rose to 6.4% in August from 6.0% the previous month, with the Black labor participation rate declining for the third consecutive month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Bottom line: Fewer Black people were with a job in August, despite companies saying they are having trouble finding labor. It also does not bode well for those who fear the U.S. economy is on the brink of a significant downturn.  Black workers are usually the first to feel the ill-winds of a cooling labor market, said William Spriggs, Howard University professor and chief economist to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

“‘Black workers are the canary in the coal mine because they face discrimination and they tell you what employers are really doing.’”

— William Spriggs, Howard University professor 

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