Nothing Changes. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Black unemployment for May 2013 is 13.5%. The Black male unemployment rate jumped almost a full point from 12.6% to 13.5%. For women it was 11.2%. Black youth unemployment also got worse, it went from 40.5% to 42.6%.
The overall Black unemployment number is virtually the same as it was when President Obama took office. In February 2009, the Black unemployment rate was 13.6%. The number has hovered around 13% for most all of 2013. The overall unemployment number for May 2013 was 7.6%.
Many argue the Black unemployment number has “always been high.” But in the fifth year of the Obama Administration, the worst Black unemployment numbers over 25 years have been posted. In August 2011, the Black unemployment rate was 16.7% — a 28 year high.
The worst number for Black unemployment during Bush’s eight years in office was 12.1% in December 2008. The “best” number for Black unemployment during the Bush years was 7.7% in August 2007 and February 2007.
During the summer of 2011 the Congressional Black Caucus held a jobs tour when the Black unemployment number hit 16.7%. President Obama offered a jobs bill in September 2011 which House Republicans blocked. President Obama appeared at the CBC gala in September 2011, later to tell the audience to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.”
The President has not had a group meeting with the Black Caucus since May 12, 2011 — 758 days. During the last meeting between the President and the CBC, unemployment was the number one topic. In meetings with civil rights leaders since 2010, including National Urban League President Marc Morial and NAACP President Ben Jealous, unemployment has been the main topic of discussion.
The President met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in January 2013. At that meeting he declared immigration his “top legislative priority.” In 2009, when Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, the top legislative priority was health care reform.
Republicans in the House have blocked every effort made by the President and Democrats to move jobs related legislation. In the Senate, no jobs bill has been moved and the White House would appear to be on defense rather than on offense with regard to jobs related legislation.
The speech, joined with the lack of policy focus on Black unemployment, opened up a continuing rift between President Obama and his critics.