Raw Data: The Black-White Unemployment Gap

Just in case you’re interested in the reality-vs-fantasy quotient of Donald Trump’s latest claim that he’s been great for black unemployment—and I admit there’s no reason you should be—here’s the gap between the black and white unemployment rates:

It’s been falling ever since the end of the Great Recession, and nothing much changed when Trump became president. It’s fallen a little bit more since his inauguration, but that’s all.

On the bright side, this really is the lowest the gap has been since BLS started keeping records by race in 1972. In fact, the long-term trend is kind of interesting:

Ever since the end of the Reagan recession, the black-white unemployment gap has been on a pretty steady downward path that’s interrupted like clockwork by every recession. When times are bad, blacks are laid off at higher rates than whites, and only after the economy has started expanding do blacks make up their losses. The good news is that during economic expansions, the gap has been in the 4-5 percent range for the past two decades. The bad news is that the gap has been in the 4-5 percent range for the past two decades.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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