Friday's new job numbers offered some good news, with more people finding work despite the unemployment rate ticking up. But it also continued a bad trend: the black unemployment rate was more than twice that of whites.
That disparity is a very, very old one. Since the government began collecting separate data in 1972, the black unemployment rate has always been higher than the white unemployment rate. Every month. In fact, the black unemployment rate has always been at least 60 percent higher than the white unemployment rate. Always. You can use it as a guide: if the white unemployment rate was 5 percent, you know that the black unemployment rate was at least 7.5 percent.
The closest the two unemployment rates have ever been was in August 2009, right after the recession (officially) ended. But even then, the rate for black Americans (14.8 percent) was two-thirds higher — 66.29 percent — than than for white Americans (8.9 percent). In part, that's a function of the unemployment rate for whites being so high. Since February 1972, the first month for which data on both races is available in the Federal Reserve's data system, the black unemployment rate has been over 10 percent more than three-quarters of the time.