Commuters arrive at Grand Central Station during the morning rush hour in New York on November 18, 2021.
Gina Moon | Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Jobs report for August showed that the overall US unemployment rate is rising. Black workers, on the other hand, marked the only demographic where labor force participation declined.
Data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday showed the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 3.7% in August. The non-farm payroll was 315,000, matching the estimate of 318,000.
Related investment news
While unemployment rates rose slightly across all demographic groups, unemployment rates for Hispanic and Black workers surged to 4.5% and 6.4%, respectively, from 3.9% and 6% in July.
However, black workers were the only group whose labor force participation rate declined, as did the group’s employment share, which measures what percentage of the population has a job.
“Although there is some volatility in these figures, the downward trend in employment and participation is concerning,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
The black labor force participation rate fell to 61.8% in August from 62% in July, and the employment-to-population rate fell to 57.9% from 58.3%.
AFL-CIO chief economist William Spriggs said looking at black workers is one way to assess and understand what’s really going on among employers.
Black workers generally face more discrimination than many other groups. A potential slowdown in hiring, as evidenced by her ADP private payroll data this week, could also contribute to these results.
“When companies lower their hiring rates, it hits black workers quickly because they are the ones who stand the longest in line to find jobs,” Spriggs said. “What happened was that the queues just got longer, and the impact of disheartened workers is more acute for black workers.
While it’s too early to pinpoint a specific cause for the decline in black labor force participation, Gould said the continued downward trend in recent months represents something other than a “statistical anomaly.” said that there is a possibility that
That said, the Federal Reserve’s campaign of skyrocketing interest rates to curb skyrocketing prices tends to be seen among historically disadvantaged groups such as black workers. It could be doing more damage to the labor market.
“Black workers are starting to bear the brunt of it in many ways,” said Michelle Holder, a distinguished senior fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. , I almost believe this will be the pattern over the next few months, especially if the Fed continues to aggressively implement that approach.”
Like others, Holder agrees that it’s premature to attribute declining black labor force participation, but he cautions against rising unemployment among black women workers. aroused.
The unemployment rate for this group rose to 5.9% from 5.3% in July. In contrast, the unemployment rate for white female workers rose from her 2.6% to 2.8%.
The unemployment rate for Hispanic female workers also rose sharply, rising to 4.3% from 3.2% in July.
Unemployment rose rapidly among Hispanic workers compared to white workers and the job market as a whole, but the group’s labor force participation rate and employment trends appear to mimic the broader market. looks like
“This rise in unemployment rate points to a significant increase in participation and the consequent uptake in employment,” she said. “I think this is a hopeful sign.
—CNBC’s Gabriel Cortes contributed to this report.