Last week, President Obama proudly announced that 150,000 jobs were added — even though this number was far fewer than expected — to the economy in January while the country maintained an eight-year-low unemployment rate. While the news on the unemployment rate is welcome, the president forgot to mention that it isn’t all good news for everyone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for African-Americans has nearly doubled during Obama’s tenure.
“One of the problems is that we continue to have a tale of two economies,” says Imara Jones an economist and writer. “[The improvement] is mostly true for people who are white, have good educations, and are tied to those sectors that are flourishing in the global economy. And then we have the economy of everyone else that has been left out and left behind.”
One of the groups left behind is African-Americans. Their unemployment rate, 8.8 percent, is more than double the rate for whites, 4.3 percent, and is actually closer to the 9 percent unemployment rates whites experienced in the depths of the recession. And for blacks, the rate actually went up last month.
Lowell Blackmon, 20, is working on getting a GED — and on getting a job.
“Right now, any type of job that, you know — that can pay me,” he says. “I’m good with my hands, so I like to work a lot. They got a lot of jobs out here, you just gotta have your stuff to be able to do it.”…
Gwendolyn Cole hopes she’s one of the workers headed in the right direction — she’s been out of a job for two years, but just got an interview with the utility company Pepco.
“I’m so happy about it, ’cause I did 15 years with D.C. Public Schools, and then I turned around and did 15 years as home child care provider,” she says. “So I went into electronics, and it’s a wonderful field, because it’s more data entry, customer service.”
Cole’s work history shows why many African-Americans are struggling to make their way out of the last recession, says Imara Jones.
Read the full article at NPR.