Black unemployment rate falls to pandemic-era low in April

Read Time:2 Minute, 33 Second

Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The unemployment rate for Black Americans dipped to a pandemic-era low in April, marking a new milestone in the labor market recovery from the Covid crisis.

Headline numbers showed a strong labor picture last month. The US added 428,000 nonfarm payrolls in April, better than economists expected, and the overall unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Unemployment rate

April 2019 February 2020 April 2020 March 2022 April 2022
Total 3.6 3.5 14.7 3.6 3.6
White 3.1 3.1 14.2 3.2 3.2
Black 6.6 5.8 16.7 6.2 5.9
Hispanic or Latino 4.2 4.4 18.9 4.2 4.1
Asian 2.2 2.5 14.5 2.8 3.1

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data is seasonally adjusted and includes those 20 years and older. As of April 2022.

For Black workers, the unemployment rate came within striking distance of all-time lows, falling to 5.9% in April from 6.2% in March. The record low for Black unemployment is 5.4% in October 2019.

“Black unemployment has been trending down pretty steadily over the last six months or so, and it’s now down below 6 percent for the first time in this recovery,” Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said.

“That’s certainly a positive sign, but it’s important to remember that it’s significantly higher than any other group,” she added.

When broken down by gender, the unemployment rate for Black men rose to 6.1% in April from 5.6% the month prior, even as nearly every other demographic group’s unemployment rate fell or held steady.

However, the labor force participation rate for Black men jumped a percentage point in April to 68.9%. That shows more Black men entered the labor market but faced challenges in hiring.

“This shows how the unemployment rate can be misleading on whether the labor market is tight. Workers who face hiring frictions are sensitive to actual hiring to get into the search,” William Spriggs, chief economist to the AFL-CIO, said in a tweet.

The remarkable labor recovery in the US has not been sufficient to overcome historical disparities, said Kate Bahn, chief economist and director of labor market policy at Equitable Growth.

“Even as employers talk about labor shortages and we have historically high job openings, we are still facing things like occupational segregation, limiting what kind of jobs people can go into, or hiring discrimination,” Bahn said.

The unemployment rate for Black women fell to 5% in April from 5.5% the month prior. The rate had declined sharply in March, but increased in February.

EPI’s Gould noted the importance of examining longer-term trends when assessing labor market recovery.

“Once you break these down by race, ethnicity and gender, the sample sizes are so small that the series shows a lot of volatility,” Gould said.

—CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed to this report.

If you want to know more about business please go to

0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Who we are

Suggested text: Our website address is:


Suggested text: When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


Suggested text: If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.


Suggested text: If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Suggested text: Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Who we share your data with

Suggested text: If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

Suggested text: If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue. For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

Suggested text: If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Suggested text: Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.
Save settings
Cookies settings