The Great Recession is sometimes known as the “Mancession” because men were hit so hard by unemployment, but a better term for it might be the “Black Mancession.” While recent data show white men are finding more job opportunities than they did last year, black male job seekers are still in an economic black hole. In April, the jobless rate among adult white males was 7.9 percent, up from 4.1 percent three years ago but down from 9.3 percent in the same month last year.
Compare that to the jobless rate of 17.0 percent among black men, down from 17.7 percent a year ago but more than double the rate of 8.4 percent three years ago. “Since the 1920s the two-to-one ratio has defined black-to-white unemployment in the U.S.,” said Charles Gallagher, chair of the sociology department at La Salle University in Philadelphia. But, he added: “This recession has been particularly hard on black men.” A continued hemorrhaging of jobs in urban areas, a decline of jobs that pay well but don’t require lots of education, and a decline in government jobs in cities, , have all combined to hurt black males, he said.
Losses in good-paying manufacturing jobs also have hit black men hard, said Harry Holzer, author of “Where Are All the Good Jobs Going?” and public policy professor at Georgetown University.
Even though we’re in a recovery, he said, “it’s been very, very slow, and back men are showing the least progress with little sign so far that unemployment rates are improving.”