(Memphis) For many Americans seeking to find jobs, the U.S. employment market remained in a spring slump in June.
Nationwide, employers added 80,000 jobs keeping the unemployment rate at 8.2%, but the numbers are far worse for African-Americans such as 57-year-old Alphonso Suttle. He’s a veteran and a truck driver back at the employment office in Memphis looking for work.
Suttle said, “For one thing it is very tough, especially a person my age and getting to start all over again is really tough for a person.”
The U.S. Labor Department says the unemployment rate for blacks rose from 13.6% in May to 14.4% in June.
Mary Holman was also at the employment office. She says unemployment is a problem for all America. Holman said, “It’s for everybody really. A lot of people are unemployed, not only black America.”
But the unemployment numbers are a sharp contrast to the white unemployment rate, which stayed put at 7.4% percent and the Hispanic rate held at 11%.
Dr. Bill Fox is an economics professor at the University of Tennessee sees several things in the black unemployment figures.
Fox said, “It’s entirely caused by a significant increase in the number of blacks looking for unemployment. In fact, the number of people employed grew at a pretty good rate from May to June, the number of blacks I’m speaking of.”
Futrell Redditt is a truck driver who just recently started working again. He said, “It’s the unemployment rate, I believe it’s got to do with the economy also, but being a person of color it’s even harder.”
In spite of the unemployment numbers, Alphonso Suttle remains optimistic. Suttle said, “I’m sure everything will get better. We can’t do everything in four years.”
Statewide in Tennessee, unemployment stands at 7.9% in May and in Shelby County, 8.8%.