Jobless Rate for Black Teens: 38.2%

By Barbara Hollingsworth | September 6, 2013 | 10:15am EDT

(Bureau of Labor Statistics)

( – The unemployment rate for African American teenagers aged 16 to 19 was 38.2 percent in August, according to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This figure is nearly twice the 20.5 percent unemployment rate for white teens of the same age, and down less than a percentage point from the 38.8 percent black teen unemployment rate BLS reported in August 2012.

The jobless rate for black teenagers hovered in the 40 percent range all summer, prime earning time for students trying to save for college. It peaked in June at 43.6 percent, compared to 20.4 percent for white teenagers.

Since entry-level jobs provide teens with not only paychecks, but also with job skills they need to move up the economic ladder, the fact that nearly 40 percent of black teenagers were unable to find jobs last month is a troubling indicator of future employment difficulty among this demographic.

The total percentage of white teens in the labor force decreased from 40.3 percent in August 2012 to 35.8 percent in August 2013, while the percentage of black teens with jobs increased slightly from 28.7 percent during that same time period.

However, the 10-point gap between the percentage of black teens who had jobs and those who could not find work has remained virtually unchanged since last year.

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