Friday, July 17, 2015

Black Unemployment: Who Gets the Credit?

Back in 2011, The Janitor wrote a piece on the black unemployment, which you can read here.  That post covered many of the possible causes of high Black unemployment.  We also began to hear some rumblings about the "first Black President" not helping Black unemployed people.  We asked the question, "Who's to Blame for Black Unemployment?"
This past June, the unemployment rate for black people in this country fell to 9.5, its lowest point since Obama took office.  Make no mistake, there’s still work to be done.  But improvement is improvement.  Especially for those who often ask, “What has Obama done for Black Folks?”  As if Obama is the President of Black America exclusively. 
When we compare today's numbers with the numbers in Janitor's post:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 19 plus million black people in the labor work force, 1.8 million (9.5) are unemployed.  Black men make up just under 9 million of our base line 18 million figure; of the nearly 9 million black men in the work force, just over 800K (9.5) are unemployed.  That same figure among Black women is 780K (7.9).  Among the 712K Black teenagers eligible to work, 226K (31.8) are unemployed.   
When we compare the Black unemployment figures to those of our White counterparts, the contrast remains the same, but there is improvement: the White unemployment rate is 4.6% compared to 9.5% for Blacks; the White male unemployment rate is 4.2% compared to 9.5% for Blacks; the White female unemployment rate is also 4.2% compared to 7.9% for Blacks, and the White teenager unemployment rate is 15.7% compared to 31.8% for Blacks. 
Janitor’s post showed the disparity between Black and White unemployment rates as compared to the national average.  When the Janitor wrote his post, the White unemployment rate was 1.1 percent lower than the national average and the Black unemployment was 6.9 percent higher than that of the national average at.  However, as of June, the White unemployment rate is 0.7 percent lower than the national average and the Black unemployment rate is 4.2 percent higher than that of the national average.  So while there is work to be done, there has been an improvement with the Black unemployment rate of nearly 3 percent.  
Since we asked who to blame, should we now ask, "Who do we credit for the improvement with Black Unemployment?"

1.) Is this improvement significant?
2.) How much - if any - credit goes to Obama for the improvement of the Black unemployment rate? 
3.) If, historically speaking, the Black unemployment rate is almost always nearly double that of the national average, is this the best Black people should realistically hope for in this country?
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