The demographics of the unemployed – February 2019
Bottom Line: The demos of the unemployed tell a much more instructive story about what's really going on in our labor market. As I do monthly, here are the government reported unemployment rates and my adjusted rate based on demographics:
- Asians: 3.1%
- White: 3.5%
- Hispanic: 4.9%
- Black: 6.8%
Here are the adjusted rates once you factor in the long-term unemployed, underemployed and marginally attached workers:
- Asians: 6.3% (lower)
- White: 7.1% (higher)
- Hispanic: 9.9% (higher)
- Black: 13.7% (higher)
The unemployment rate generally was heavily skewed by furloughed government workers who’re really employed. For that reason, it’s probably not helpful to read too much into every ethnicity having a higher unemployment rate except for Asians. Pending the potential for another federal government shutdown during February, we should have a good read on where we really stand next month. One constant that remains, is that despite the record setting progress we’ve made in minority employment over the past year, there’s still work to be done as unemployment rates for black adults are more than double Asians. A continued bonus on that note though. The length of time out of work for minorities remains the lowest in recorded American history.
Obviously, we continue to see the disconnects in the labor market based on demographics and it paints a picture of where and with whom we generally need to be focusing efforts going forward.