For the third consecutive month the national unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent, showing slow job growth of only 80,000 nationwide. The data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics fell dramatically from the estimate of analysts, who predicted growth of some 124,000 jobs.
However, the most alarming numbers emerging from the June report are the persistently high unemployment rate among Blacks, which has risen to 14.4 percent, almost double the rate of 7.4 percent for whites, and more than three percentage points higher than the rate of 11.1 for Hispanics.
Although the Obama administration tried to put a positive on the June report, claiming the economy has added private sector jobs for 28 straight months for a total of 4.4 million payroll jobs during that period, the national economy seems locked into a place resistant to job growth.
The high unemployment rates for young adults, at 23.7 percent for persons under age 20, is also surprising, as many economists expected the availability of temporary summer jobs would boost the employment rate for young workers.
On the other side of the dismal unemployment figures however, is the abundance of cash in the U.S., with the demand by investors keeping the DOW stock market index just under 13,000 points. But, while people with cash are investing, this revenue is not being translated into bank credit for businesses. So, the bottom line is – business activity, and by extension job creation, remains low as small businesses struggle to find credit.
The high rate of unemployment among Blacks has been a persistent problem, averaging above 14 percent for the past three years. The numbers deepen the current disparity between Blacks and whites in the American labor force, which has been a consistent problem since the 1960s when the first formal unemployment reports were collected.
A combination of factors contribute to the persistence of high unemployment among Blacks. These include a concentration of Blacks in poor neighborhoods with limited opportunities, high dropout rates among Black students in public schools, and a weak Black business sector that offers little employment opportunities. Improvements have been made in educational standards for Blacks over the past decade. Job opportunities however still tend to elude Black youth, compared to whites and Hispanics.
One reason for the rise in Black unemployment in June is that more Blacks were looking for jobs rather than job losses. One analyst in Miami said there has been an increase in qualified Black high school and college graduates joining the labor force.
"While on the one hand this is positive, on the other it is a prescription for real frustration among Blacks if there are few job opportunities available in South Florida and the across the country."
In an earlier Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and projections from Moody's Analytics, Florida's unemployment rate among Blacks was projected to be at 16.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012, which would rank the state's Black unemployment rate the 13th highest in the nation.