Thursday, December 8, 2022

Black Unemployment Rate Drops To Lowest Level Since 2008 Great Recession!

July 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Business, Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The new numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when it comes to the black unemployment rate were favorable. Blacks as a worker group have the highest unemployment rate of any of the worker groups followed by the BLS. The unemployment number for June showed African Americans as a group dropping to their lowest level in seven years and into single digits. The African American unemployment rate dropped from 10.2 percent to 9.5 percent. This is the second time in seven years the number has dropped below the 10 percent level. In April of this year the black unemployment rate dropped to 9.6 percent before going back up to 10.2 percent in May.

However, before uncorking the champagne bottles, you may want to pay some attention to the experts who follow these numbers. They indicate the BLS unemployment numbers are off by as much as 2 to 5 percent or more. That, if you believe the experts, technically puts the black unemployment rate on the low side at 11.5 percent. Nevertheless, statistically speaking, these number are headed in the right direction, and based on that we might be politically correct when raising our champagne glasses in celebration. But, to demonstrate to you how bad a 9.5 percent unemployment rate is and how far African Americans have yet to go to achieve normalcy, you need only listen to President Obama’s comments when the Nation in October of 2009 reached its highest level of unemployment, which was 10 percent. Since then, the national unemployment rate has receded to 5.3 percent which was also reported by the BLS in their announcement of unemployment numbers for June.

President Obama on February 17, 2009 as he signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was a stimulus package totaling $830 billion dollars, used to address the devastating results of the 2008 Great Recession said (about ARRA ), “…a direct fiscal boost to help lift our Nation from the greatest economic crisis in our lifetimes and lay the foundation for further growth.” His description of the affects of the Great Recession is that it caused “the greatest economic crisis in our lifetimes,” and that’s 123-National-Black-Unemployment-Rate-2015when the Nation’s unemployment rate topped out at 10 percent. If you apply that assessment to the African American unemployment rate, you can only conclude the African American community has been in “a perpetual economic crisis” for seven years as their unemployment rate stayed at or floated substantially “above” 10 percent during those seven years.

Let me add, there was almost no mainstream and minimal black media coverage of their perpetual crisis. As a matter of fact, once the national rate of unemployment started receding, the president himself rarely spoke of the “economic crisis” besetting the African American community. You are hypocritical in your thinking, if you do not agree, that the same 10 percent unemployment rate, which was at one time a crisis for the Nation and the majority population, does not amount to the same type crisis for African Americans, their families and their community over those seven years.

The largely African American audience in Charleston at the funeral services of state Senator Reverend Clementa Pinckey was obviously pleased when Mr. Obama in his eulogy of Reverend Pinckney shined the spotlight on the African American unemployment rate. The president said:

“Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it, so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal.”

Truly, any recognition of the economic state of the black community from the president is always welcomed. When there is recognition of a problem and it is daily mentioned and talked about, the likelihood of something being done about it increases exponentially. Maybe in his own way, without appearing to be to black, President Obama acknowledged “the crisis” being endured by African Americans because of high unemployment.

Still, black leadership for the most part is missing when it comes to this issue. We don’t see leadership coming from political pressure groups such as the Nation of Islam, the Urban League, the NAACP, the National Action Network (NAN) or even the Congressional Black Caucus. We don’t even see leadership concerning black unemployment coming from second tier black leaders and black news and entertainment publications, either in print or on the net. It is as if the greatest crisis which befell the Nation is a non-issue or a non-crisis when it comes to the African American community. Can you imagine this being the case, in an era when we have an African American president, the most elected African American officials in the history of this Nation and what looks like an African American church on every other corner?

In the coming weeks and months, it is incumbent upon all of us to keep an eye on this issue. No one wants to see this downward trend reversed. It appears and this should come as no surprise to anyone who follows African American political news, many African American leaders are leaders in name only. Black leadership is out of touch with the suffering of its people. It follows if you are out of touch with the people you are leading, then you are not meeting their needs. Good leadership knows the needs of its people; good leadership articulates those needs to power. When it comes to the black community, “leadership in name only” starves the community of needed resources, crowds out wise voices and prevents discussions of meaningful solutions. It is the non-discussion about solutions which is hurtful and the most dangerous to the future health of the African American community. Out of sight, out of mind carries a heavy cost.

Staff Writer; James Davis

This talented brother is a graduate of Florida A. and M. University(FAMU), a former stockbroker, and a human rights activist who resides in Sanford, Florida. He was awarded the prestigious Governor Haydon Burns Scholarship to attend FAMU and while at FAMU was awarded the first Martin Luther King Scholarship. He is also author of three books, among them are “The Fix This Time,” Expanding Social Security Benefits to Create Jobs and Spur Demand( ) and “Hey…God’s Talking To You,” The Study Book ( ).

He can be reached through his blog @, (

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