Are There Signs of Hope as Unemployment Disparities Continue?

The economic recovery is kind of like a national myth, best seen through fog and a rose-colored lens. Sometimes it’s there, others, not so much.

A recent Wall Street Journal blog post by Anna Louie Sussman said it well: “The recovery has been kind to those who invested in certain stocks or whose title begins with the word ‘chief.’ It’s been less charitable to certain groups, like African American workers.”

The recovery definitely affects different groups in different ways, but there is some good news. According to the U.S. Labor Department, in second quarter 2015, the national unemployment rate for African Americans dipped below 10 percent for the first time since 2007. Now for the bad news: At 9.5 percent, that unemployment rate is still more than double the 4.6 percent for whites, and almost twice the national average of 5.3 percent.

Even worse news, that dip isn’t nationwide. According to Sussman’s blog, only 11 states can claim African American unemployment rates below 10 percent, and just eight states have unemployment rates for black workers that are below pre-Great Recession levels.

Man. That good news feeling doesn’t last long, does it?

Lack of experience and education — and the fact that it can take black candidates twice as long as similarly qualified white candidates to get a call back or for an interview — count for some of the disparity. But it could be worse. According to National Council of La Raza’s monthly Latino employment report, unemployment rate for Hispanics jumped to 6.8 percent in July.

Insert pallid look on the bright-side humor here.