Janelle Jones and I have a new piece coming out wherein we explain why and how the Federal Reserve should target the Black unemployment rate in setting monetary policy.
The first figure to which we refer is the share of quarters since 1972 (when the Black jobless rate data start) that the unemployment rate for different racial groups has been below CBOs estimate of the “natural rate.” Whites enjoyed full employment labor markets almost 60% of that time. The Black rate, conversely, has never fallen below the estimated full employment rate (which I’ve, for the record, long argued is biased up, meaning these figures are optimistic).
The next figure relates to our discussion of who benefits most from tight labor markets. It shows that pre-crisis, the pace of nominal Black median weekly earnings surpassed that of Whites.