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Gap in US Black and White Unemployment Rates is Widest at 5.3 Percentage Points in 5 Years

A man looks at signs of a closed store due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill. US. 

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

A man looks at signs of a closed store due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill. US. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The white unemployment rate fell by 2.3 percentage points to 10.1% from 12.4%, while the rate for Blacks dropped by 1.4 points to 15.4% from 16.8%.

The gap between the US unemployment rates for Blacks and whites widened further in June, to its largest in five years.

Jobless rates for both fell in June, but the rate for whites came down at a much faster rate. The white unemployment rate fell by 2.3 percentage points to 10.1% from 12.4%, while the rate for Blacks dropped by 1.4 points to 15.4% from 16.8%.

At 5.3 percentage points, the gap is now the widest since May 2015.

The pandemic brought an abrupt end to the record-long US economic expansion just as it was creating better job opportunities for Black workers and other minorities. And the job losses seen during the downturn have fallen hardest on Black workers, Hispanic workers and women, wiping out some of their recent wins.

The widening spread between racial group jobless rates in the last two months has reversed years of gains toward slowly bringing unemployment rates between Blacks and whites closer to parity.

Last August, the unemployment rate for Black workers dropped to a record low of 5.4% and the gap between Black and white workers narrowed to 2 points, the narrowest since the Labor Department retooled its measurement of employment by race in 1972.

first published:July 02, 2020, 20:08 IST