President Obama has taken a lot of flack from Republicans for his “failure” to create jobs and get millions of unemployed Americans back to work. To hear his critics tell it, the president has done little to nothing in the way of job creation. However, recent statistics from the Department of Labor paint a different picture, one that shows the president has kept his word and that, slowly but surely, Americans are finding jobs.
More than 200,000 jobs were created in February and March 2011—the most jobs created over a two-month period since 2006. Big cities, which need jobs the most, are fairing very well. According to the Department of Labor, more than 75 percent of America’s 372 cities reported lower unemployment rates in February 2011. Among those cities that saw a drop in unemployment claims are Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
This is good news for African-Americans, who primarily live in large cities and struggle to find work more than other ethnic groups during economic recessions, and for the nation as a whole. Continued job growth—no matter how slowly it happens—is a sign that our economy is, indeed, rebounding.
President Obama recently launched his bid for re-election. With Republicans, and even some Democrats, constantly taking shot at his presidency, Obama is in for what will arguably be one of the hardest fought campaigns of his political career. One of his key messages on the campaign trail should be that his approach to job creation is working. Republicans, with all their spin and fear mongering, will try to convince the voting public that there are no jobs and that America is worse off than it was in 2008. President Obama has the data to prove that he delivered on one of his biggest campaign promises. He has to make sure that his messaging rises above the conservative noise and that he, despite push back from political opponents, he is working in the best interest of the average American.
At the same time, elected officials at both the national and state levels must continue to ramp up job creation efforts. Re-election or no, getting Americans back to work is one of this country’s top priorities. Those in power should make sure they are doing everything possible to ensure that the unemployment rate continues to fall.
(Judge Greg Mathis is vice president of RainbowPUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.)