While the national unemployment remained steady at 5.5 percent and the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 8.6 million in March, the rate of Black unemployed sat at just about double the U.S. percentage with 10.1 percent seeking work, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this week. This was little changed from the 10.4 percent rate in February and down from 12.2 percent a year ago, noted the BLS.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased overall by 126,000 jobs in March but the employment picture continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade, while mining lost jobs.
Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.8 million, respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.1 percent), adult women (4.9 percent), teenagers (17.5 percent), Whites (4.7 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (6.8 percent) showed little or no change in March.
The rate for Black teens ages 16-19 years old remained at 34.9 percent, up from 28.5 percent in February and 32.9 percent a year ago.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was basically the same at 2.6 million in March. These individuals accounted for 29.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was nearly unchanged in March as well at 6.7 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In March, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 738,000 discouraged workers in March, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Employment in professional and business services trended up in March (+40,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 34,000 per month in this industry, below the average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. Within professional and business services, employment continued to trend up in architectural and engineering services (+4,000), computer systems design and related services (+4,000), and management and technical consulting services (+4,000).
Health care continued to add jobs in March (+22,000). Over the year, health care has added 363,000 jobs. In March, job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+19,000) and hospitals (+8,000), while nursing care facilities lost jobs (-6,000).
In March, employment in retail trade continued to trend up (+26,000), in line with its prior 12-month average gain. Within retail trade, general merchandise stores added 11,000 jobs in March.
Employment in mining declined by 11,000 in March. The industry has lost 30,000 jobs thus far in 2015, after adding 41,000 jobs in 2014. The employment declines in the first quarter of 2015, as well as the gains in 2014, were concentrated in support activities for mining, which includes support for oil and gas extraction.
Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in March (+9,000), following a large increase in the prior month (+66,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 33,000 per month, the same as the average monthly gain in 2014.
Employment in other major industries including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.
While potential employees continue to seek work, Los Angeles last weekend played host to an event designed to help women create their own jobs.
Rise Women Empowerment brought nearly 100 women and a few men to downtown many of whom were looking to start or grow a business.
The event was created by a pair of entrepreneurs, Rochelle Graham and Angela Walker who met while operating their own beauty industry firms and realized that there was a need to provide women with information on how to start and grow a business.
Graham and Walker launched a five-city tour that featured panels of women entrepreneurs who told their respective stories of how they got their businesses started and what challenges and triumphs they encountered in the process. The final two stops on the tour are April 18 in Washington, D.C., and April 24 in Atlanta.
After the tour, Graham, whose businesses include Alikay Naturals, which was started when she was a college undergraduate said she and Walker will launch a distinctive way women can stay connected.
According to Graham, about half of the women who have attended their tour are looking to start a business and the other half already have an enterprise in operation. One of the key stumbling blocks that many face is fear of failure, adds Walker, who graduated college with a bachelor of science in entrepreneurship before opening her own natural hair studio in Silver Spring, MD.
“Everyone is afraid of failing, but failure can be looked at from two perspectives,” pointed out Walker. “You can either say, I’m a loser . . . or this is great; this is what I need to do next time. You have to look at failure as just one step closer to suceeding,” she added. And don’t wait for the “perfect” moment, she advises; start when and where you are.
It’s also critical to be realistic about your businesses, stresses Graham adding that there is no clearly defined path to success.
To keep in touch and find out about Rise’s next step to help emerging entrepreneurs, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ RiseEmpowermentTour or https://instagram.com/riseempowerment.