Black-White Jobless Gap Widens, Narrows Between Women and Men

Employment disparities between Black and White Americans widened in August but narrowed between men and women, even as jobless rates came down across the board.

The Black unemployment rate in August was 13%, down from 14.6% in July. This put the unemployment rate at about 1.8 times that of White Americans, which dropped to 7.3% last month, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. The unemployment rate for White Americans was below the overall rate, which fell to 8.4% in August from 10.2%.

The gap between the female and male jobless rate narrowed to 0.3 percentage point as the female unemployment rate declined to 8.6% from 10.6% the prior month. The male rate fell to 8.3%. Before the pandemic, fewer women were unemployed than men.

The large drop in the female jobless coincided with an increase in the participation rate for women of a tenth of a percentage point, to 56.1%. The rate for men rose to 67.7% from 67.1%.

The biggest decrease in unemployment was seen by Latino Americans. The Latino jobless rate, which was the highest among the biggest race groups during the pandemic, fell by 2.4 percentage points to 10.5%. The drop was even greater for Latina women ages 20 and over, with a decline of 3.5 percentage points to 10.5%.

The Asian unemployment rate, which before the pandemic was the lowest among the race groups, fell to 10.7% from 12% the previous month.

The employment-to-population ratio rose to 56.5%. It was 61.1% before the pandemic. This measure offers a broad picture of the country’s employment conditions because it counts the entire population, including those who may be retired and children who are too young to work. The ratio for women, at 51.3%, is up from 45.8% in April at the height of the coronavirus lockdowns.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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