The overall Black employment rate is at its worst in decades.
President Barack Obama’s approval rating received a bump not only after the death of Osama bin Laden but also because 244,000 new jobs were added nationwide. But joy about the latter was not felt as widely in African-American communities—particularly by Black males.
According to the Department of Labor, the percentage of Black adult men with a job fell below 60 percent for the first time. The Labor Department’s April statistical report showed that just 56.9 percent of black males over 20 years of age held jobs, while 68.1 percent of white males were employed.
The overall employment rate for Blacks was also dismal, falling to its lowest point since 1984. In April, only 51.5 percent of African-Americans held jobs, compared with 59.5 percent of whites. The only small, very dim point of light, if one can call it that, was that the Black percentage was lowered somewhat by the inclusion of 16- to 19-year-olds, a group that is traditionally underemployed even in the best of times.
In April, the unemployment rate for Blacks was 16.1 percent, for Latinos 11.8 percent and for whites 8.0 percent.
The social and political impact of continued high Black unemployment and underemployment can be measured, among other ways, by foreclosures, homelessness and health issues. But the most troublesome lingering problem may be the destruction of the dreams of adults and young people—dreams they will be able to create stable lives and provide economic hope for their children.
(Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Landov)