All Articles Tagged "Black unemployment rate"
April jobs numbers beat forecasters estimates by a bit, with the Department of Labor announcing that 165,000 jobs were added for the month, pushing the unemployment rate for the country down to 7.5 percent. Experts had predicted that 140,000 jobs would be added, which is the good news. The bad news, according to The New York Times, is the figures for the month are lower than the number of jobs created during the previous months of 2013 and the final quarter of 2012.
The reason for the slowdown is the sequester that went into effect in March mixed with the increased payroll taxes that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Retail sales and manufacturing numbers had indicated that there would be an economic slowdown. Construction actually cut 6,000 jobs and the government, 11,000.
Still, the unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008. “The unemployment rate fell even though the size of the labor force increased, which is a good sign. People enter the labor force when they think there’s a better chance of finding work,” writes Marketwatch. Average hourly wages went up four cents to $23.87 and the average workweek fell just a bit to 34.4 hours. On the flip side, “professional and business services, which includes high-paying fields such as accounting, engineering and architecture, added 73,000 jobs. Retailers added 29,000 and health care 19,000,” reports The Washington Post.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the black unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 13.2 percent, still well above the national average. The participation rate actually went up to 61.5 percent, up three-tenths of a percent.
The unemployment rate for adults between the ages of 18 and 29 is 11.1 percent. For African Americans in that age range, the figure is a staggering 20.4 percent, according to figures quoted by Generation Opportunity, a youth advocacy group.
With there being roughly 3 million African-Americans out of work, the highest its been in the United States in 27 years – many are wondering when things will get better. Maxine Waters, a U.S. Representative and one of the more vocal members of the Congressional Black Caucus, has been pushing hard against President Obama to put an end to the overwhelming unemployment in the African-American community.
Never afraid of being controversial, Waters has stated that in order for unemployment to change, the President needs to start seeing the priorities of the African-American community on the same level as he views the Iowa swing voters. Her comment stemming from the President’s recent bus tour – where he stopped in Iowa but made no real effort to address states affected the most by the unemployment crisis.
Earlier Thursday, Waters again discussed her reservations about the President with Politico, where she discussed the likelihood that Obama would address the unemployment situation during his speech later on that evening.
“There are roughly 3 million African Americans out of work today, a number nearly equal to the entire population of Iowa. I would suggest that if the entire population of Iowa, a key state on the electoral map and a place that served as a stop on the president’s jobs bus tour were unemployed, they would be mentioned in the president’s speech and be the beneficiary of targeted public policy.”
At the same time, Waters isn’t trying to push a ‘Black Jobs’ agenda – instead, she would rather see a way for high unemployment and poverty areas to receive new programs, tax cuts and emergency assistance. Which in turn, would provide a net-positive impact on the unemployment rates in those communities and the country as a whole.
She later cited Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority law, which helped create jobs during the Depression. If the President would employ a similar tactic – focusing instead on the smaller people over the big businesses – perhaps, she believes, the country’s issue would start to mend itself.
During his speech last night, while the President didn’t directly address the issues penetrating the African-American community– he did touch on the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged youth – proving that, he is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, for Waters the President’s pace is still not quick enough.
“I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African American community. He didn’t quite get there. I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country. I think he got it right.” Waters shared with CBS News correspondent, Scott Pelley.
Within the next few weeks, the President is expected to go more into depth about the $447 billion that will make up the ‘American Jobs Act,’ once the tax cuts and spending initiatives are in place.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
By Alexis Garrett Stodghill
Writer Amy Wesgaw recently published a piece on Technorati questioning what role working from home will play in reviving America’s economy. In her heartfelt essay, she outlines many of the frustrations of struggling with unemployment, and the increased stress for those overworked in the smaller labor pool. These new facts of life have transformed what was once something only for stay at home moms into a desirable source of income for everybody. For the black community, developing work from home expertise could make or break us economically.
Stories about how African-Americans have been hit harder by the recession than other groups abound. Our unemployment rate is over 16% — almost twice that of the general population. For black men and teens, these rates are even worse. Black adolescent joblessness is at roughly 40%, and African-American men have been deemed “the recessions biggest victims.”
Very few government agencies are doing anything to address these problems. The city of Milwaukee is the first locale to make an attempt to help black men with specially designed programs — and this initiative started a month ago. At this rate, more efforts have to be made by our leaders if there is any hope of eradicating what for black America is a Great Depression. We must unite to better capitalize on our considerable financial power and inborn cultural creativity. Generating work from home opportunities can be a substantial tool in combating our economic plight.
This is where learning from an expert like LaShanda Henry comes in. As the founder of the web sites Sistasense.com, Multiple Shades of You Online, and Black Business Women Online, Ms. Henry earns her living from home building online destinations — and teaching black women how to be Internet entrepreneurs. Henry provides services to them like graphic design, but also supports and nurtures her clients so they can learn how to make money on the web.
This enables LaShanda to create a win-win situation for herself, her clients, and African-Americans at large. Through selling her skills from home and empowering other black women to do the same, she empowers us to circulate vital knowledge and resources within our ranks.
LaShanda was not always a work from home expert. She decided to make that leap of faith when she became pregnant with her son. “It is the best decision I could have made,” she told The Atlanta Post. “I am now making more than double what I made before and more importantly I’ve been able to watch my son grow up.”
Now in her early thirties, Henry represents a wave of new African-American business leaders whose empowering skills can truly lift all boats. She may not have realized it, but LaShanda was part of the 60% growth spike of black-owned businesses founded between 2002 and 2007. According to a 2010 Washington Post article analyzing this trend, some researchers fear that the recession will crush this historic development. Others think rampant joblessness will lead minorities to work even harder to create their own jobs.
As black unemployment hovers near 16%, activists are examining the specific forces at work keeping blacks from finding positions in their local communities. Factors like the overall weakness of the economy and the above-average presence of ex-felons in our group are significant contributors to the problem. Yet, organization like the National Urban League believe other causes are being underestimated, particularly entrenched discrimination in key industries such as construction. Breaking into local economies on these levels will be essential for blacks seeking better economic futures. The Grio reports that:
Further, according to black-owned contractors, a “good old boy” network has existed to ensure that white-male-owned contractors, well connected and extensively networked, continue to secure the highly coveted contracts. And when black-owned businesses are denied these opportunities — aggressively shut out of the market or removed from existing contracts — they cannot hire people and help uplift the community. As a result, the black community suffers and its problems of unemployment and poverty persist. That has been the case for years in cities such as Philadelphia.
For example, Holley Enterprises, a black-owned construction company, claims that James J. Anderson Construction unfairly terminated their contract as subcontractor on a subway repair project. According to Holley, Anderson brought on the black-owned firm to meet minority participation requirements for the project, and unfairly terminated Holley two months later.
Minority businesses suggest that the pervasiveness of discrimination demonstrates the continued need for affirmative action to give minority businesses a fair chance and bring them into the economic mainstream.
Without entities to properly enforce laws that prevent race-bias, African-Americans might never be able to escape the double-digit unemployment trap. Construction jobs, for example, are given by firms that often receive large government contracts. It has been widely reported that minority-owned companies received few of the government contracts that were granted as part of President Obama’s stimulus package. Acts of discrimination such as these prevent jobs from funneling down to lower levels of our community.
Concrete examples of the effect of this phenomenon are striking. In example given by The Grio in its report, one black neighborhood in DC must idly witness a bridge being built in their neighborhood by outsiders, even though the area faces an unemployment rate of 30%.
The Congressional Black Caucus has joined the National Urban League in criticizing President Obama’s administration for not doing enough to adequately address such systemic causes of black joblessness. Both groups have presented detailed proposals to ameliorate the situation, including steps like funding stimulus programs targeted towards communities of color. Their ideas aim to create jobs where people of color live, and empower black-owned businesses to hire people from their backyards.
President Obama is famous for responding to such suggestions by saying “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Yet, it is hard to agree with the assertion that specific programs for blacks are not necessary, if the economy is doing well. The fact that black unemployment is usually twice the national rate regardless of the nation’s economic state points to the fact that other elements are at play. While African-Americans need to take more responsibility for making themselves employment-ready, the sad fact is that even the college educated are considered less attractive to many employers than white ex-cons.
Facts like these cannot be ignored. The crime of persistently higher black unemployment must be addressed. But instead of looking to President Obama, perhaps blacks should take their leaders to task at the local level. That is where the failure of politicians to address our needs is hitting home.
By J. Smith
But the problem must really be bad now if Newt Gingrich has taken notice. He and rival presidential contender Michele Bachmann spoke at the Republican Leadership Conference and vehemently blamed the years of black unemployment on the president. “Gingrich got so carried away with his absurd notion that Obama is to blame for the crisis he went completely off the deep end and claimed that this virtually ensures that blacks will turn off to Obama in his reelection bid,” The Huffington Post reports.
Not only is the accusation false — researchers conclude that discrimination is the largest reason for black joblessness — it successfully turns the black community and its struggle into a political toy for Newt Gingrich to use at his leisure. I do not intend to defend President Obama’s war on jobs in the black community, because I don’t feel like he deserves defending just yet, but deflecting the real reasons why blacks are unemployed and turning them to the president is insulting.
“The high number of miserably failing inner-city schools also fuels the unemployment crisis. They have turned thousands of blacks into educational cripples,” The Huffington Post reports. “These students are desperately unequipped to handle the rapidly evolving and demanding technical and professional skills in the public sector and the business world of the 21st century. The educational meltdown has seeped into the colleges. According to an American Council of Education report, in the pase decade Latino, Asian and black female enrollment has soared while black male enrollment has slowed down.”
Mr. Gingrich, Mrs. Bachmann — we appreciate the (false) concern, but if you are really interested in seeing the black community excel, you’ve got to look at the institutions that breed failure, not at President Obama.
President Obama met with reporters yesterday to reassure us that we are not heading for what he termed a “double-dip” recession. The President sought to express his confidence that despite recent declines in jobs creation, the economic uptick his administration has established will continue to produce growth. This news comes after last week’s jobs report revealed that employers only added 54,000 positions to the employment market, churning up pessimism on both Wall Street and Main Street.
Trading was down in reaction to this sign; plus, according to CBS News, six in ten Americans still believe we’re gripped in a recession, despite reports that it is officially over. CBS has more on the President’s positive outlook:
President Obama said today he’s concerned about last month’s slow job growth, but he’s not concerned about the economy sinking into another technical recession.
“I’m not concerned about a double-dip recession,” Mr. Obama said at a joint press conference at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I am concerned the recovery we’re on is not producing jobs as quickly as I’d like.”
Last week’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed that the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May. Employers hired only 54,000 new workers last month, the fewest in eight months.
“We don’t yet know whether this is a one-month episode or a longer” problem, the president said. Consumers are currently experiencing “headwinds” like high gas prices, he said, to which his administration has responded with steps to try and stabilize the international oil market.
Mr. Obama pointed out today that prior to this latest disappointing report, the U.S. economy experienced three months of robust growth. He pointed to additional signs of economic recovery, such as the rebound of the domestic manufacturing sector.
But, he said, “We’ve still got some enormous work to do.”
This work will include investing in education and energy, with a strong focus on fiscal policy including reducing the deficit.
What President Obama did not address is the growing crisis in the African-American community, which looms like a shadow outside his sunny focus on growth. While unemployment rose to 9.1% overall, African-American males experienced a staggering increase to 18.6% for the month of May, according to a UC Berkley report. The unemployment rate for blacks at large is now 16.2%, almost twice the national level. Blacks, in particular black men, are suffering through what many economists would call a depression, yet the first black president has yet to consider this issue worthy of consistent commentary.
As President Obama continues to sell us on the end of the recession, will he face the Great African-American Depression that millions grapple with? To be fair, President Obama has stressed his belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Even at the current alarming rates, black unemployment is actually down. The key issue is that it continues to rise despite this for black men.
The president is avoiding a crisis that must be addressed. African-Americans are waiting. If and when Obama responds, we will remember how our cries for intervention met his walls of silence — for too long.
Republished from The New York Times –
Set aside some prominent success stories, like the current occupant of the White House, and the last few decades have not been great ones for African-American progress.
In 1975, per capita black income was 41 percent lower than per capita white income. Since then, the gap has shrunk only modestly, to 35 percent. The black unemployment rate today is nearly twice as high as the white rate, just as it was in 1975. And by some measures — family structure, college graduation, incarceration — racial gaps have actually grown.
But now a new study has found that there is one big realm in which black Americans have made major progress: happiness.
White Americans don’t report being any more satisfied with their lives than they did in the 1970s, various surveys show. Black Americans do, and significantly so.
Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, the University of Pennsylvania economists who did the study, point out that self-reported measures of happiness usually shift at a glacial pace. The share of whites, for example, telling pollsters in recent years that they are “not too happy” — as opposed to “pretty happy” or “very happy” — has been about 10 percent. It was also 10 percent in the 1970s.
Yet the share of blacks saying they are not too happy has dropped noticeably, to about 20 percent in surveys over the last decade, from 24 percent in the 1970s. All in all, Mr. Wolfers calls the changes to blacks’ answers, “one of the most dramatic gains in the happiness data that you’ll see.”
The new study is part of a deluge of happiness research by economists, who are discovering what the rest of us have long known: money isn’t everything. To get a true sense for people’s quality of life — the most basic mission of economics — you have to try to peek inside the human mind.
Money clearly has a big effect on the mind, just as it has a big effect on health, education and almost everything else. The rich report being happier than the middle class on average, and the middle class report being happier than the poor. The income and wealth gaps between whites and blacks, in turn, explain a big part of the happiness gap.
But they don’t explain all of it. Among whites and blacks making the same amount of money, whites tend to be happier. This unexplained gap, however, has shrunk.
Ms. Stevenson and Mr. Wolfers have a good way of making this point. In the 1970s, a relatively affluent black person — one in a household making more than nine out of 10 other black households, or at the 90th percentile of the black income spectrum — was earning the same amount as someone at the 75th percentile of the white spectrum. That’s another way of saying blacks were making less than whites.
But blacks were far less satisfied with their lives than could be explained by the income difference. People at the 90th percentile of the black income spectrum were as happy on average as people just below the 10th percentile of the white income spectrum, amazingly enough.
Today, people at the 90th percentile of the black income spectrum are still making about as much as those at the 75th percentile of the white spectrum — but are now as happy on average as people in the dead middle, or the 50th percentile, of the white income spectrum. The income gap hasn’t shrunk much, but the happiness gap has.
In the paper, which is awaiting peer review, the two economists acknowledge that they cannot be sure what is causing the change. But it is consistent with patterns that other happiness researchers have noticed, and there are some plausible explanations.
The most obvious is the decrease — though certainly not the elimination — in day-to-day racism. “The decline in prejudice has been astounding,” says Kerwin Charles, a University of Chicago economist who has studied discrimination. Well into the 1970s, blacks faced “a vast array of personal indignities that led to unhappiness,” he noted. Today, those indignities are unacceptable in many areas of American life.
Old polls bear this out. In the early 1970s, 39 percent of Americans said they favored laws against marriage between the two races, according to one long-running poll. When the question was last asked, earlier this decade, the share had fallen below 10 percent. The number saying they are unwilling to vote for a black presidential candidate has also plummeted. That shift is a reminder that jobs once closed to blacks — Fortune 500 chief executive, A-list movie star, secretary of state, attorney general or president — no longer are.
It isn’t hard to see how the decline in discrimination improves people’s lives, above and beyond their pay.
And the decline in discrimination may even be lifting black wages, despite the meager gains in the overall statistics. Jonathan Guryan, a Northwestern University economist, points out that the last three decades have brought a wave of forces that could have led to a widening of the black-white pay gap.
Union membership has dropped, and black workers are more likely to be unionized.Income inequality has risen, and black households are more likely to be middle class or poor. The economic returns of a college degree have soared, and the college graduation gap between whites and blacks has grown. Nonetheless, the black-white pay gap has shrunk slightly.
One intriguing footnote to the new paper is how different it seems from an earlier Stevenson-Wolfers paper about women and men. It found that women have become less happy over the last few decades, in spite of big economic, educational and social progress. Ms. Stevenson argues — persuasively, I think — that the combined job and family expectations for women today may have left many less than fully satisfied.
By contrast, the happiness gains for black women have been a bit bigger than for black men, who are still more satisfied than they were in the 1970s, but less so than a decade ago.
With both the race and the gender findings, you get a sense of how much fairer the American economy has become, and yet how unfair it can still be.
A rich vein of research has shown that racial discrimination remains a part of daily life, albeit a reduced one. To take just one example, an experiment found that résumés with typically black names lead to fewer job interviews than similar résumés with different names. Combine the discrimination with the toll of bad schools and broken families, and you end up with those huge lingering black-white gaps.
Closing the gaps would clearly help the economy — moving families out of poverty, freeing up talent and, in the long run, probably lifting growth. But these wouldn’t be the only benefits. There would also be some on which it’s hard to put a price.
(Kentucky.com) –There’s little to celebrate this Labor Day. The unemployment rate for July, stuck at 9.5 percent, means that 14.6 million people who have been looking for work are still jobless.The situation is even worse for blacks between the ages of 16 and 24. Only one in three of them has a job. An additional one-third are actively job hunting without any luck. In contrast, more than half of their white counterparts have jobs and “only” 16 percent are unemployed, a rate one-half that of blacks.