There’s good news on the job front – if you’re not African American.
The Labor Department’s most recent report on the nation’s overall unemployment rate revealed that job losses slowed for the first time in several months. However, the jobless gap between Black Americans and everybody else actually widened.
It’s nothing new that African Americans have suffered most during this period of recession, the most dramatic economic downturn in modern history, but it is particularly troubling considering the hope that Black America has held out since pouring to the polls last year to elect the nation’s first African-American president.
Currently, Black unemployment stands at nearly 16 percent, notably higher than that for Hispanics (12.7 percent), Whites (9.3 percent) and Asians (7.3 percent), according to Labor Department figures. The rapidity in which Black unemployment has grown is also a major cause of concern, observers say.
Consider this: The chasm between the jobless rates for Blacks and Whites plummeted to 3.5 percent in August 2007, an all-time low. Alarmingly, by April 2009, that gap doubled, marking the widest margin in more than a dozen years.
"We're so focused on 'too big to fail' that we're treating this issue as 'too little to matter,'" said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus' jobs task force, told CNNMoney.com. "We have a serious problem, and the army of the unemployed is growing darker by the month."