Black unemployment falls to lowest level on record

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from The Washington Post,

Black unemployment fell to 6.8 percent in December, the lowest ever recorded by the U.S. Labor Department since it began tracking the black unemployment rate in 1972.

Economists say it’s a sign the recovery from the Great Recession is finally starting to help a wider swath of the U.S. population.

During the aftermath of the financial crisis, black unemployment soared to 16.8 percent in 2010, meaning more than 1 out of every 6 African Americans was looking for a job but could not find one. The rate has steadily declined since, breaking the prior all-time low of 7 percent that was set in 2000 during the dot-com boom.

African Americans face a number of barriers to employment, including biases from recruiters. An oft-cited study in 2004 took the same résumés and put more “white sounding names” and “black sounding names” on others. The study found that employers were 50 percent more likely to call in the person with the white-sounding name for an interview, even though the two résumés had exactly the same qualifications.

The experiment has been repeated several times since with similar results, leading some minority candidates to attempt “résumé whitening” when they apply for jobs.

Beyond unemployment, African Americans lag far behind whites on pay, wealth and homeownership.

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