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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In The News:
Obama meets with NAACP re: Unemployment

The New York Times has reported that several minority advocacy groups, including the N.A.A.C.P, the A.F.L-C.I.O., and the National Council of La Raza will meet with President Obama tomorrow to discuss a rededication of resources aimed at fighting unemployment.

Good job minority advocates!!

For the first time since 1983 the national unemployment rate has risen above 10% and while these unemployment stats have affected people across all ethnic populations, American minorities have been hit the hardest.

Earlier this year an article titled Blacks Lose Ground in Job Slump in the Los Angeles Times stated:

Black unemployment -- which tops that of other racial groups in the best of times -- has reached levels not seen in decades. The average annual unemployment rate among blacks in California was 12.5% in February, compared with 7.8% for whites and 10.4% for Latinos, whose jobless rate has grown faster than that of other groups because of a heavy dependence on construction jobs. These ethnic group data are compiled as moving averages of unemployment rates from the previous 12 months.

Nationally, the picture for blacks is even worse. The overall unemployment rate for blacks in February climbed to 13.4%, while the rate for black men reached 16.3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Last hired, first fired" is an old adage in the African American community. Factory hands and the unskilled have long been whipsawed by the economy's downturns. Now layoffs are beginning to reach a once fast-growing cohort of black professionals, managers and government workers, including many who overcame discrimination and limited economic and educational opportunities to win quality jobs.

Ok so maybe you minority advocates are a bit late…but I suppose better late than never!

These trends are not surprising. Last year, Algernon Austin, a sociologist of racial relations, published What a Recession Means for Black America, a short paper outlining the unique struggles facing Black Americans during times of recession. He states:

Even when the national unemployment picture is good, the black unemployment rate is more than twice that of the white unemployment rate. This means that in what looks like good economic times nationally, most of black America is still experiencing a recession. When white America is in recession, black America is in an economic depression.

Damn the truth can hurt sometimes…

Blacks and other minorities groups may feel the effects of this recession for years, perhaps even decades to come. The recession is affecting the ability of middle class Black families to grow wealth, specifically because Blacks are losing their homes and changing/putting off college plans – two of the best tools available to blacks wanting to jump up a class.

Let’s hope the meeting goes well tomorrow…

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