10% Unemployment Considered a Crisis…But for Black Workers, It’s Normal

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Job-seekers in Detroit (AP Photo: Paul Sancya)
Supporters of President Barack Obama have hailed the news of new job opportunities and the decline of the unemployment rate. When the national unemployment rate reached 10% for one month—in October 2009—it caused widespread despair and worry. The rate had not hit double digits since 1983.
But for one of Obama’s most important group of voters, African-Americans, 10% or higher joblessness has become the norm. For example, the black unemployment rate exceeded 10% for each year between 1974 and 1997, as it has for each of the last four years. As of February of this year, black unemployment was 14.1%. For whites the rate was 7.3%.
The situation may not get better anytime soon for blacks, according to Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute. He projects the African-American unemployment rate to continue to exceed 10% for at least another three years. Travis Waldron of ThinkProgress points out that one of the problems is that black workers are more likely to find jobs in the public sector than whites are, and that since the 2008 recession, 600,000 government jobs have been lost.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:

While White Unemployment Rate Dips, Black Unemployment Hits 27-Year High (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


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