The Federal Reserve Board on African American Unemployment


I decided to assemble this page after viewing the questions and discussion of U.S. Representative Al Green (D-Texas) during the House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, hearing for the February 2018 Monetary Policy Report.

While Rep. Green (and other House members) have asked about black unemployment previously, the February 2018 questions and statement of Rep. Green represented a poignant moment. At the time there seemed to be a consensus that the economy was the best that the people of the United States could expect. At the same time, high black unemployment (crisis level if spread to the broader population) gets lost, forgotten–ignored– at that moment.

Employment is not just a mere data point. To the nonwealthy, a job provides essential income; literally, it is a matter of life and death. It is so because the United States does not have a robust social support system. The fiscal programs that the United States has in operation are limited in scope and, generally, stingy and subject to a long list of limitations and exclusions.

Economists and policymakers speak boldly on unemployment, but their definition and determination of unemployment are nebulous and subject to conjecture (which permits bias to slip into the conclusions–implicitly and explicitly.

As a result, economists and policymakers must approach the subject with empathy and humility.

I will attempt to collect information about the subject of black unemployment, and potentially unemployment in general, on this page. It will be an ongoing project (subject to revision).


Representative Al Green (D-Texas) at the 2018 Monetary Policy Report hearing

Monetary Policy Report Testimony of Chairman Jerome Powell | Report

Background of the experience of black people with the institutions of the United States of America

Redlining: Adam Ruins Everything (a program on TruTV)

[Blog coverage of this topic]


Reeves, Dr. Arin N. (2014, April). “Written in Black and White: Exploring Confirmation Bias in Racialized Perceptions of Writing Skills.” Nextions Yellow Paper Series, 2014-0404. [Blog coverage of Nextions]

At the Federal Reserve Board, there is a Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS) working paper by economists Tomaz Cajner, Tyler Radner, David Rattner, and Ivan Vidangos titled “Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle. [Blog coverage of this paper]


The Intercept reported about Federal Open Market Committee members laughing while discussing unemployment in 2011. [Blog coverage of this article]



The Federal Reserve Board and its black employees

See the Federal Reserve Board page.