March Jobs Report: Black Unemployment Reaches All-Time Low

Image of a black employee smiling. Black unemployment hit an all-time recorded low according to the March 2023 jobs report.

Here’s our assessment of the April 2023 jobs report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday released the March 2023 jobs report, finding the American economy added 236,000 jobs—just slightly lower than the 239,000 jobs forecasters predicted. Unemployment dropped to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent from the February jobs report.

Some other primary takeaways from the BLS report (and other labor statistics) include:

  • The labor participation rate rose to 62.6 percent, which is trending upward and close to February 2020 levels (63.1 percent).
  • The report represents the smallest jobs gain since December 2019, excluding the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Year-over-year average hourly earnings increased just 4.2 percent, which is the smallest increase since July 2021.
  • There were strong jobs gains in leisure and hospitality, education and healthcare, and government services.
  • The private sector added 145,000 jobs, according to the ADP National Employment Report. That was lower than the projected 200,000 jobs added, and annual pay growth for those jobs dropped to 6.9 percent.
  • Unemployment insurance claims have generally trended upward, but the unemployment rate is still low.

While overall the jobs growth and wage growth slowed slightly—two indicators the Federal Reserve reportedly wants to see to fight inflation—in March, observers report that they see the job market “is slowing down, not stalling out,” according to Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist who also teaches University of Michigan. The Federal Reserve is “trying to tap the brakes on the economy without crashing the car,” she says.

Black Unemployment Dropped in March

One of the other major statistics stemming from the March jobs report is that Black unemployment dropped 0.7 percent to 5 percent—an all-time low for recorded employment rates that go back to 1972. That change included a drop of unemployment for Black women to a record-low 4.2 percent. The gap between white and Black employment dropped to a record-low 1.8 percent, too.

Tyler Horne, Insight Global’s DEI Recruiting Strategist, says “we’re seeing a convergence of many factors that contribute to that a low Black unemployment percentage, all of which are tied to the efforts to reduce the Black employment gaps and wage gaps.”

Factors that help reduce Black (and other marginalized groups’) unemployment and wage gaps include actions like:

  • Dropping degree requirements for certain roles, where experience may be more valuable than a degree
  • Providing upskilling, reskilling, and other workforce development programs
  • Allowing remote work, which eases barriers to entry such as unaffordable childcare and high commuting costs

“The numbers in this jobs report are promising, but it is important to remember that the Black community often is hardest hit by major job market and economic changes,” Horne said. “Although we’re seeing progress in these numbers, it is important to keep the conversations and efforts going in order to see continued long-term success.”

DEI Training & Solutions Can Help

One way to help maintain long-term success in this area is by continually investing in DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“DEI strategies require organizations to reimagine processes they’ve been utilizing for most of their existence,” Horne said. “The biggest factor to an organization’s success within DEI is their employees understanding the ‘why’ behind their efforts. Otherwise, they can feel like it’s just a ‘check the box’ initiative.”

Insight Global’s DEI solutions approach our customers’ DEI goals with intentionality and a wholistic approach. We offer job description audits, a customized DEI recruiting strategy for your positions and locations, a scoreboard tracking the progress of candidate demographics through the submittal, interview, and hiring process, and a team of 15 highly trained DE&I recruiting advisors to execute filling your roles.

Learn more about our DEI training and talent solutions here.

More DEI Help

Workshop: DEI in the Workplace: Learn about get of what’s happening right now in diversity, equity, and inclusion, hosted by Korryn Williamson.

How to Transform Your Company with a DEI Strategy: Is your company looking to get to the next level of revenue and productivity? A solid DEI strategy can help.

23 Types of Diversity in the Workplace You Need to Know: Diversity isn’t just a protected, physical characteristic. Diversity occurs in all different kinds of ways, from education to recreational habits to what division you’re part of at work.

Need help finding diverse talent? Contact Us