National Data | September Jobs: Whites Lose Ground to Blacks, Hispanics—Americans Lose Ground To Everyone
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Now that the Bureau of Labor has finally begun reporting immigrant vs. native-born unemployment data, we at no longer need to use Hispanic employment as a proxy for the impact of immigration—and have begun a second series of articles focusing on the racial distribution of employment and unemployment.

You won’t find either in the MSM.

The basic racial facts of the unemployment crisis are well known: Black unemployment rates are about twice that of whites and nearly 50% above Hispanic rates. During the Great Recession, black joblessness outpaced that of the other groups. While white unemployment has dropped during the (alleged) recovery, unemployment rates for blacks have continued to rise.

 The latest job data—for September—departs from this long-term pattern. The survey of Households found that Blacks accounted for a disproportionate share of the jobs created in that month:  

  • Total employment: up 398,000 (+0.29  percent)

  • White employment: up 120,000 (+0.10 percent)

  • Black employment: up 268,000 (+1.79 percent)

  • Hispanic employment: up 57,000 (+0.28 percent)


Black employment grew by 1.79% in September, the strongest monthly expansion since Obama took office.


While the national unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.1%, and rates for whites and Hispanics did not budge, black unemployment declined to 16.0%, from 16.7% in August. 

Black job gains came despite sizable reductions in state and local government and manufacturing employment—sectors that employ a disproportionate number of African Americans. 

Compared to other groups, Whites were the biggest losers. In September they gained jobs at about one-third the national rate and only 6% of the Black rate.

  But let’s not get carried away. Black unemployment is still twice the white rate.  

And the gap would be still larger if the million or so blacks incarcerated in prisons and jails—4.8 % of the black male population—were counted in the labor force. 

September’s results could reflect the expiration of unemployment insurance benefits—forcing recipients to take jobs that may have been available earlier. There may even be reverse displacement at work, as black workers benefit from the recent—and, if the past is prologue, temporary—reduction in the foreign-born labor force.

Of course, there’s this paradox about unemployment rates: When confidence is low, people give up—they stop looking for jobs. Ironically, these labor force dropouts keep unemployment rates low—because they are not counted as unemployed.

This means that employment growth is a better measure of economic success than lower unemployment rates.

September did see a narrowing of the white-black employment growth gap. A different gap emerges when viewing the entire course of Mr. Obama’s presidency:

  National Data September


  • From January 2009 to September 2011 both whites and blacks suffered employment declines: Black employment fell by 272,000, or 1.8% and white employment fell by 2.0 million, or 1.7%.

  • By contrast, Asian employment grew by 123,000, or 1.9%, and Hispanic employment grew by 558,000, or 2.8%, since the start of the Obama years.

In other words, the long term employment “gap” is between blacks and whites, on the one hand, and Hispanics and Asians on the other.

Or, effectively, between native-born Americans and immigrants.

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