As 2014 comes to a close and we begin to write down those 2015 goals, for some African Americans the list hasn’t changed from last year:
Get a Job.
While the country is heralding President Obama for the lowest unemployment rates since 2008, the story is quite different for the people who look most like him. According to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department in its last jobs report of the year, the African-American unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 10.9 percent to 11.1 percent in November, after two months of decline. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent.
With 25 percent of its African-American residents jobless, Chicago has the highest black unemployment rate among the nation’s five most populous cities. No wonder Chicago is plagued by violence in the black community. People are mad and angry; and it’s spilling over.
Chicago isn’t the only big city with a huge African American population dealing with massive unemployment. Philadelphia’s 19 percent, Los Angeles’ 18 percent, Houston’s 15 percent and New York City’s 14 percent, based on 2013 U.S. Census figures.
The America whites live in versus the harsh realities African Americans face are so disparate.
Sadly attaining a higher education doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be any better off. Among recent graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
In fact, the unemployment rate in 2013 was lower among whites who never finished high school (9.7 percent) than it was for blacks with some college education (10.5 percent).
Worst yet is Black male unemployment. Eleven percent of black men over 20 are unemployed today. That’s down from 19 percent in 2010, but it’s still the highest of any ethnic or racial group. By comparison, 9.6 percent of black women are unemployed, while white men have an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.
How many African Americans will be able to mark “get a job” off of their 2015 goals list? How many will be facing the same headed into 2016?
More importantly should we be heralding President Obama as the most successful president of our generation, when his own people are struggling with something as vital as getting a job?