Are You Black With No Job?

Even though the unemployment rate in the United States is finally beginning to inch downward, the painful truth is that African American unemployment continues to remain at a crisis level. While the overall economic forecast appears to be improving each month for the last year, the official national unemployment for the first time in more than two years is at 8.9 percent. There are more than 13.7 million unemployed persons in the United States, as of this month. But, Black American unemployment persists in double digits above 15.3 percent. For teenagers in our communities, the unemployment rate is more than 40 percent. All labor surveys show that African Americans have the highest rate of unemployment of all groups surveyed. These unemployment percentages indicate a dire socioeconomic condition for the African American community in 2011. President Barack Obama stated, “Our top priority right now has to be creating new jobs and opportunities in a fiercely competitive world. And this week, we received very good news on that front. We learned that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two years as our economy added another 222,000 private sector jobs last month.” We agree with the stated priorities of President Obama. The challenge, however, for the African American community is to increase meaningful and productive job creation for African Americans and others ahead of the current pace of increased employment because of the disproportionate high unemployment in our community.

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