December’s unemployment rate, announced this morning, was 7.9% for women, 8.0% for men. But it was 8.5% overall. Who’s missing?


The unemployment rate for Americans aged 16 to 19 was a staggering 23.1%. For black teens it was nearly double that — 42.3%. If you were a black teenager in the US last month, and you were actively trying to work — not just hoping to work, not just willing to work, but actively searching for a job — the chances were almost 50/50 that you weren’t able to find even a part-time gig.

And you want to hear the really scary part? These numbers are an improvement. Teen unemployment has dropped almost ten percent (from 25.3% to 23.1%) since August, and black teen unemployment has fallen from 46.3% to 42.3% in the same stretch.