The unemployment rate hit a 17-year low, remaining unchanged at 4.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month. Also announced in the February 2018 Employment Situation report was the creation of 313,000 jobs. This is the greatest amount of job gains since July 2016 when 325,000 jobs were created.
The report, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 9th, announced job gains in construction, retail, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities and mining.
The national average unemployment rate of 4.1 percent is closest to the jobless rate of the white labor force — 3.7 percent. The unemployment rate of the Asian population is at 2.9 percent. The Hispanic and Latino population is at 4.9 percent. The highest jobless rate is found in the black population at 6.9 percent.
The jobless rates of underrepresented groups directly displays the country’s gap in economic mobility that some minority groups face.
In fact, the “household income for the average black family increased 42.8% since 1968, but remains only 61.6% of that of the typical white household,” reported Marketwatch’s Kari Paul.
“It’s very difficult for blacks and Latinos to move up the social ladder because we start at the bottom and live in bad neighborhoods with terrible public education,” said Brandon Marerro, a recent St. John’s University graduate. “It’s difficult to catch up regardless of talents and efforts.”
Marerro, a Latino from the Bronx, would like to see combined statistics for unemployment by race and educational attainment. Currently the report offers both numbers, but in separate categories.
The current rate of unemployment for the population with a Bachelor’s degree and higher is 2.3 percent. High school graduates without a college education are facing a jobless rate nearly double that at 4.4 percent.
The gap between those rates proves attaining a degree to be crucial in lowering unemployment rates. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center provided statistics outlining the racial and ethnic breakdowns of college completion rates for the first time in 2017.
“White and Asian students completed their programs at similar rates — 62 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively — while Hispanic and black students graduated at rates of 45.8 percent and 38 percent, respectively,” reported Emily Tate for Insider Higher Ed.
Citing both the February 2018 jobless rate and NSC report’s degree completion rate, one can find a correlation between job and degree attainment that needs to be reflected within the Employment Situation report.