Despite a slight dip in the overall national unemployment rate for African-American adults, the number still remains unacceptably high as applicants continue to battle against a welter of socioeconomic challenges, including a lack of education and hiring connections.
The Department of Labor’s latest jobs report, which was released last Friday, shows that 12.6 percent of Black Americans were unemployed in July, compared to 13.7 percent in June. This is the lowest rate since Barack Obama became president, when the Black unemployment rate was also 12.6 percent.
A stunning unemployment rate among Black 18- to- 29-year-olds continues to rattle experts at 20.9 percent. According to Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization that released its “Millennial Jobs Report for July 2013” on Friday, Black unemployment numbers are problematic.
“Both numbers are just way too high,” Terence Grado, policy director of Generation Opportunity, told NewsOne about the Black adult and youth unemployment rates. “It’s just way too high. They’ve been that way for many years now. We need to get serious about addressing these numbers. There is a real human impact behind them. There are young people graduating from college without real employment opportunities or their shot at the American Dream.”
The numbers come out as President Obama, the nation’s first Black president, shifts his agenda to the economy. In his “grand bargain” budget proposal, unveiled last week, he highlighted the importance for Congress to end the stalemate and act on his plan to shore up the middle class.
“If folks in Washington want a ‘grand bargain,’ how about a grand bargain for middle class jobs?” President Obama said before a crowd at the Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn., the first leg of his most recent jobs tour, CNN reports.
“During his speech the President proposed to Republicans a deal: he would accept a corporate tax decrease if they would pass some of his spending proposals, such as infrastructure improvements, with some of the accompanying savings from the tax cut,” CNN reported.
Over the years, the President has come under heavy criticism by critics such as Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, hosts of the nationally syndicated public-radio program Smiley & West, for failing to forcefully tackle unemployment in the Black community. But proponents, such as MSNBC commentator Al Sharpton, have cut him slack, understanding that some of his congressional roadblocks have been racial.