Black Unemployment Rises Under Obama
Despite the election of America's first black president and his campaign promises to help create new jobs, the August jobs report was dismal, painting a picture of unemployment among blacks.
Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%, the Labor Department reported.
"This month's numbers continue to bear out that longstanding pattern that minorities have a much more challenging time getting jobs," said Bill Rodgers, chief economist with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972 despite federal programs designed to help blacks find jobs and increased spending on social programs to enable them.
Economists blame a variety of factors. The black workforce is younger than the white workforce, lower numbers of blacks get a college degree and many live in areas of the country that were harder hit by the recession. all things that could lead to a higher unemployment rate. But even excluding those factors, blacks still are hit with higher joblessness.
Significant factors could be the high number of unwed parents among blacks, the large number of one-parent homes and the presence of gangs in many black areas.