JULIANNE MALVEAUX

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—The man who currently occupies the Oval Office (I call him 45, but y’all know his name, and we don’t call it because we do not believe in feeding bloated egos), promised to “Make America Great Again.” He said that he would create jobs, generate economic growth, and create a new and better health care environment than the one we got from the Affordable Care Act. Instead, he has found himself stuck in the muddy quicksand of wanting to repeal, but not replace, the legislation that provided health insurance for more than 20 million people.

When he was a candidate, 45 claimed that unemployment data was false and manipulated.  As President, he has touted the unemployment rate improvement as evidence that he is doing a good job.  But the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the employment situation is steady, but not especially good.  While the unemployment rate is lower, by 0.4 percent, than it was when 45 took office, little else has changed. The Black unemployment rate, at 7.1 percent, is, as always, nearly double the White rate (3.8 percent), and the number of people who have been unemployed for more than half a year has not changed much. The labor force participation rate (the people who are working or looking for work) is just below 63 percent, as it has been most of the year.  The employment-population ratio, or the percentage of people holding jobs, is also steady, at 60.1 percent.

The Bureau of labor Statistics report (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf) repetitively describes indicators as “changed little”, which means that few are better off than they were when 45 took office.

The low unemployment rate is deceptive.  In a vibrant economy, more people would be entering the labor force, with the understanding that if hard times are over, good jobs are now available. Although some new college graduates have entered a vibrant market with high demand for their services, many others have not seen their prospects improve.  Indeed, African American college graduates face unemployment rates that are far higher than their White counterparts.  According to the Economic Policy Institute (in full disclosure, I am a member of that Board), young Black college graduates have an unemployment rate of 8.0 percent. College graduates remain worse off than their counterparts who graduated in 2000 and 2007, the year before the Great Recession (http://www.epi.org/publication/the-class-of-2017/).

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