Last Friday’s unemployment news crashed the stock market and upended the presidential race. Lost in the excitement, however, was the news that African-American unemployment, already significantly above general levels, rose by much more.Nationally, unemployment in May rose from 8.1 percent to 8.2. This is bad, especially considering how much time has passed since our economic troubles began, but it is less than catastrophic. As the Root reports, for African-Americans, however, the news was much, much worse. Unemployment among Blacks rose from 13.0 percent to 13.6 percent.This is serious news for a population that is already under great economic strain, but it is in line with some trends we’ve been following here. One is that state and local employment has been particularly hard hit in the last year. The emergency funding provided by the federal stimulus has been running out faster than state and local tax revenue has recovered. Because unlike the feds most state and local governments have to balance their budgets each year, cuts in revenue translate more quickly into cuts in spending, and that leads to minority unemployment in many cases.The decline of the blue social model is a challenge to the survival and dignity of the Black middle class. Heavily invested in government employment and well represented in organizations like the Postal Service, African Americans are vulnerable to changes in the structure of government and the cutbacks now rippling through traditionally stable employers like the USPS. The inability of the Obama administration to find any way to alleviate Black unemployment points to a larger failure in American society and our public schools: African Americans will not prosper in the coming years until inner cities become less tightly regulated and highly taxed, public schools reorient to promote entrepreneurialism instead of pre-bureaucracy training and we develop better credit facilities for small business nationwide.
Unemployment Increase Worse for Blacks