NAACP Statement on May Unemployment Numbers

Job Recovery Maintains Racial Employment Disparities

(Washington, DC) – The NAACP has released the following statement in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May employment report which indicates that for the month of May, the national unemployment rate held at 6.3 percent.  The unemployment rate for Asians was 5.3%, for whites 5.4%, Latinos 7.7%, African Americans 11.5% and with no data released on American Indians.
The economy has recovered the 8.7 million jobs it lost during the pre-recession. But the labor market has not kept pace with population growth over last 7 years and the 6.9 million new workers, who have joined the workforce.

From Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Sr. Director of NAACP Economic Department

“It is encouraging that we have regained jobs lost during the recession, but celebration is premature.  We cannot lose sight of the underlying issue. With a larger working age population and shifting labor, job growth must be double what it is now. Additionally, we need jobs that pay decent wages, not the low wages jobs that account for the majority of new ones being created today. Finally, the 2 to 1 employment disparity between African Americans and whites appear to be a permanent part of the economy.  This disparity, as well as the disparity found in Latino unemployment, must be addressed. Stronger and better quality job creation, particularly in communities that are suffering persistently high unemployment levels, is essential before we can be on a sustainable path to economic recovery.


Note:  The NAACP Economic Department was relaunched in 2011 and currently has four program areas: Fair Lending, Economic Education, Opportunity and Diversity, and Community Economic Development.  The NAACP Economic Department is dedicated to ensuring that “every person will have equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability, and financial security”. Learn more about the NAACP Economic work here.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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