The number of unemployed Black people in America crept up ever so slightly in August, according to the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday morning. The rise comes a little more than a month after President Donald Trump happily took credit for what he called the “lowest unemployment [for Blacks] since just after the turn of the millennium.”
BLS reported that the jobless rate for Blacks “showed little to no change in August” from one month earlier, but Black people can still lay claim to having the highest unemployment rate among all the “major worker groups at nearly 8 percent. Still, joblessness for Blacks has been on a steady decline since Trump took office, with a rate of 7.1 percent in June, which likely prompted Trump’s aforementioned gleeful remarks punctuated with one of his signature ad-libs: “That’s pretty good, right?”
It should also be noted that during the same time period last year, when President Barack Obama was still presiding over the White House, Black folks had an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. In fact, during Obama’s first summer as president, the unemployment rate for Blacks hovered at around 15 percent, the Root recently reminded us. (Editorial note: It should not be forgotten that Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, so there’s that to consider.)
But this current administration has seemingly been pretty selective when it comes to facts, which is probably why Trump as a presidential candidate famously told a crowd in Michigan last summer that “African American communities are suffering from Democratic control. … Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed, what the hell do you have to lose?”
(That 58 percent figure was later debunked by the Washington Post and other media outlets.)
Compared to Black folks, whites enjoyed an overall employment ratio of nearly two to one.
Overall, the unemployment rate in the U.S. stood at 4.4 percent, and it hasn’t fallen lower than one-tenth of a percentage point in the last four months. But for Black people as a job-seeking demographic, the outlook is much more “gloomy,” as the New York Times editorial board described it last month.