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March Jobs Report: Weak Job Growth, Black Women’s Unemployment Continues to Rise

By: Anne Morrison, FellowPosted on April 3, 2015 Issues: Data on Poverty & Income

Today’s release of March’s jobs data reports a slowdown in job growth and other troubling signs for workers and the economy. Our analysis shows increases in unemployment for some vulnerable groups, and finds a sizable share of jobs added were in low-wage sectors.

The overall unemployment rate in March was unchanged from February at 5.5 percent, and the unemployment rate for adult women (20 and older) was likewise flat at 4.9 percent. However, adult African American women’s unemployment rate rose for the third month in a row, marking a troubling trend for 2015. At 9.2 percent, it is now a full percentage point higher than it was in December 2014. Unemployment rates also rose for adult Latinas and single mothers in March from February.

  • Adult African American women’s unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in March from 8.9 percent in February.
  • The unemployment rate for adult Latinas rose to 6.5 percent from 6.1 percent in February.
  • Single mothers’ unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent from 7.7 percent in February.
  • The unemployment rate for adult white women was flat at 4.2 percent in March.
  • The unemployment rate for adult men was 5.1 percent in March, down from 5.2 percent in February, and all groups of men saw a decrease in their unemployment rates from February.

Women added 105,000 jobs in March, accounting for 83 percent of the 126,000 jobs added. Of these 126,000 jobs, 41 percent were in the low-wage industries of retail, leisure & hospitality, temporary help services, home health care services, and nursing & residential care facilities.

These data show us that the economy is still fragile, yet last month the House and Senate approved budgets that slashed funding for programs that help families make ends meet and cut investments that would create jobs now and strengthen the economy. Lawmakers should reject that approach, and craft a final budget that helps working families and the economy.