Unemployment fell again in March, this time to 8.8 percent, and that’s great for the Obama administration. But, it’s not good news for African-Americans.
Joblessness among Blacks is stubbornly hovering around 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
We all know, however, that labor statistics are flawed, and real unemployment for all Americans is likely well over 12 percent and for Blacks, according to some reports, it is near 25 percent.
Twenty-five percent unemployment was the number without jobs during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In some predominantly Black corridors of Philadelphia and other cities across the country unemployment is as much as 50 percent at the same time the high school dropout rate for African-American males is 48 percent.
This is not just the mere reflection of a recession. This is a crisis.
Unfortunately, the Obama White House—perhaps overly sensitive to the thought that Whites will say the president is showing favoritism to Blacks—is doing nothing to address this growing problem.
The economy added 216,000 jobs in March, with factories, retailers and health-care and education sectors, financial and professional services all hiring the folks.
The private sector, which added over 200,000 jobs for the second straight month, is hiring at a rate that offsets layoffs in the public sector where depleted tax revenue is causing severe cuts.
This hiring spree, though modest by normal standards, apparently doesn’t include Blacks.
The old American adage that Blacks are the first fired and last hired is holding steady.
Since we know this is no coincidence, and that there are too many qualified, educated African-Americans available and ready to work, an urban jobs program would not be preferential treatment. It would be compensation for a private sector that is still systemically discriminating against Black people.
Local governments cut 15,000 workers in March.
If the Republicans have their way in the current federal budget fight, more than 700,000 public sector employees will lose their jobs.
What’s happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and other states with GOP governors and/or GOP-controlled legislatures is no accident.
Black people make up a big percentage of public workers across the nation, and while hiring is up overall, the dwindling job security in the public sector is definitely a factor in higher percentages of joblessness in the African-American community.
When asked during the presidential campaign what he would do about persistent unemployment and poverty among Blacks, President Obama said a rising tide raises all boats.
This Labor Department report of rising employment proves that the boats of Black folks must have holes in their bottoms.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)