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5 facts about the economy you won't learn by looking at the national unemployment rate

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The national unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in May. Only whites and Asians report unemployment rates under the national average — 4.1 and 4.7 percent, respectively — but most other subpopulations reported higher-than-average rates, among them Hispanics, workers in the mining and gas industry, persons with disabilities, blacks, and transgender people.

1) Hispanics or Latinos: 6.7 percent

Interestingly, US-born Hispanics or Latinos report being unemployed (6.7 percent) at a higher rate than that of the total foreign-born population (5.6 percent), of which Latinos or Hispanics comprise 48 percent.

2) Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers: 7.2 percent

In May 2014, the unemployment rate for these workers was an incredibly low 2.6 percent — in this case, 26,000 workers reported being unemployed. That number now stands at 72,000 unemployed. Even accounting for the relatively small size of the population affected, it's fascinating to see one of America's historically critical industries dramatically fluctuate like this.

3) Persons with disabilities: 10.1 percent

Disabled persons are more likely than not to be 65 years or older in America, and 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, Americans with disabilities continue to fight discrimination through the course of their lives.

The Kessler Foundation's new report summarized some of the modern illegal barriers to work, which include employer discrimination during the job application process and a lack of adequate transportation options.

4) Blacks or African Americans: 10.2 percent

Unemployment for blacks has always been higher than whites, which Pew Research Center says is part of a well-known "last hired, first fired" policy, in which black Americans face higher job insecurity than whites. This higher unemployment rate can be seen as far back as the year unemployment was first tracked by the US government:

Pew Research Center

Cuts in certain kinds of jobs could be adding to the current unemployment rate for black Americans, the Center for American Progress told BET:

"Budget cuts have reduced the number of teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, and police officers, among others," said CAP economist Michael Madowitz in a statement. "This news is particularly troubling for communities of color, given that African-Americans are overrepresented in public sector jobs."

5) Transgender people: 10 to 40 percent

Transgender people report average unemployment rates twice as high as the general population, according to GLAAD, with rates for transgender persons of color up to four times the national unemployment level.