The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Situation Summary Report for April and the numbers reveal the toll the recession has taken upon Blacks in this nation. Black unemployment is now at 15 percent, compared to the overall rate of 8.9 percent; the latter an increase from March when unemployment was at 8.5 percent.
The unemployment rate for Black men was 17.2 percent, the highest of any group, and twice that of white (8.5 percent) males. The rate for Black women was 11.5 percent, compared to 6.4 percent for white women. Black teens, age 16 to 19, continue to fare the worse. Black teenage unemployment was 34.7 percent last month. For many Black families that depend upon wages earned by teenagers, their situation further impacts the household. By comparison, white teenage unemployment was 19.7 percent in April. Overall, the economy shed 539,000 jobs last month. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have vanished in the American economy.
Job losses were felt across sectors. Employment in manufacturing dropped by 149,000 last month, with declines in transportation equipment (34,000), fabricated metal products (29,000), and machinery (22,000). Since September 2008 manufacturing has lost 1.2 million jobs. Construction also declined in April, shedding 110,000 jobs with losses across the sector. Retail also continued to feel the effects of depressed consumer spending. Employment in the sector fell by 47,000 with losses in transportation equipment (34,000), fabricated metal products (-29,000), and machinery (22,000).
Employment in transportation declined by 38,000 in April with job losses in truck transportation (16,000) and warehousing and storage (8,000). The final services sector lost 40,000 jobs last month, with losses coming in real estate and rental and leasing (15,000). The hospitality and leisure industry also continues to feel the retraction in consumer spending, with employment declining by 44,000 jobs last month. Health care continued to defy the overall trend of job losses. The sector grew by 17,000 jobs in the month of April. Thus far, in 2009 job gains in the health care sector have averaged 9,000 per month, down from 30,000 per month during 2008.