2nd Lowest Black Unemployment Rate Still Weighs on Housing

By CultureBanx Team

  • June 2018, black unemployment rate was 6.5%
  • Only 43% of blacks owned homes in 2017

The national unemployment rate for black people inched up in June to 6.5%, after hitting an all-time low of 5.9% in May. While this is the second lowest recording since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) started tracking this nearly 50 years ago, homeownership in the black community continues to decline.

Why This Matters: Since 2010, which was the height of African American unemployment at more than 16%, the number has steadily decreased. Interestingly enough the black jobless rate remains almost double the 3.5% unemployment rate for whites and for Hispanics it sits at 4.6%.

Many African American households are worse off than they were 30 years ago. About eight percent of African-American homeowners lost their properties to foreclosure from 2007 to 2009, according to estimates from the Center for Responsible Lending. Only 43% of blacks owned homes in 2017, according to an annual report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

With the current low four percent national unemployment rate and steady wage increases, even people with good jobs still have to battle against rising home prices. ATTOM Data Solutions reported the national median home price reached $245,000 during the second quarter of 2018.

Situational Awareness: Homeownership is still one of the main avenues for all Americans to build wealth. Black homeownership did increase 0.8% points last year, according to the Harvard housing report, this figure is still well below the national average. Also, access to mortgages have improved since lenders and regulators have softened the requirements around down payments, debt levels and credit scores.

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