The March jobs report can be summarized in one word: dismal. In March only 88,000 jobs were created, well below estimates of 200,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.6 percent — the lowest rate in more than four years.
However, the rate declined because the labor participation rate, or the number of people actively searching for a job, declined to 63.3 percent, a level not seen since May 1979. About 496,000 people left the labor pool.
Black teens a bright spot?
Despite anemic job growth in March, one group saw a significant drop in unemployment: black teens.
The unemployment rate for black teens — youth ages 16 to 19 — fell by nearly 10 points from 43.1 percent in February to 33.8 percent in March. This was the lowest black teen unemployment rate since March 2009 when the rate was 33.5 percent.
This is great news right?
Not so fast. One month does not make a trend.
May be just a blip on the radar screen
“The BLS never makes a big deal with any month of data. If we get several months where it falls or the number really drops then that would be telling something,” cautions Gary Steinberg, Spokesperson at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“It’s hard to know whether this is a blip on the screen or not. We must look at the report over time to determine that. What we do know is that black teen unemployment is much higher than white teen unemployment and should be unacceptable to this society,” says Michael Wenger, Senior Fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. His group released the report “Further To Go: Job Creation in African American Communities” in early April.
At 33.8 percent, black teen unemployment remains by far the highest of any group. White teen unemployment rose slightly in March to 22.5 percent from 22.1 percent in February.