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Unemployment Increase Worse for Blacks

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.


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  • Joe Eagar

    Government employment actually benefits minorities? I’d always assumed our ethnic spoils system only benefited the politically well-connected, with most minorities left in the dust. There just isn’t enough to go around; the government (at all levels) controls something like 35 percent of the economy, but much of that is transfers and defense; there just can’t be *that* many jobs in the bureaucracy.

  • Kenny

    “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.”

    If that’s the case, then it’s tough luck for the blacks.

    Which is just what leftists & liberals really want — blacks enslaved on the Democrat Party’s plantation with the chains of dependency.

  • Kris

    “African Americans will not prosper in the coming years until …”

    Until African-American unemployment rises by just one more individual.

  • Anthony

    WRM, in a related matter the arts of how to earn a living in a free-enterprise economy ought to be a teachable concern (and program) not only for black Americans but many Americans. However, concern about black Americans and where they fit in pluralistic America is not a serious and genuine policy discussion many in black community are prepared to debate – discussion regarding policies and principles in transitioning world economy and what various cultural, economic, and social arrangements need review to cohere with nature of American society while promoting sustainability for both.

  • Jim.

    Don’t depend on the public sector for a leg up. Depend on learning the ropes in the private sector, and getting yourself ahead that way.

  • Corlyss

    Yeah. Blacks in college have to stop majoring in trendy but empty crap like Black Studies, minority history, pre-law with an eye to civil rights litigation, etc., and start studying business, science, and engineering – subjects that might actually get them good-paying jobs. Also a boat-load of government jobs have no skills that transfer to counterparable jobs in private industry. Government is unique.

  • Kelly

    Honestly? If this happened under a republican president it would matter. Obama could accidentally nuke Harlem, and blacks would still be loyal. It isn’t only about skin color, either. They vote democrat the same way sheep are all herded by the sheep dog. They obediently and mindlessly obey. What other group can be counted on to display such loyalty?

  • SamC

    It has to be a deep psychosis for blacks to vote based on race. Identity voting is really a mental condition.

    For example: The idea that blacks accept the notion that whites are capable of getting an ID to vote but blacks can’t is just amazing to me and I do not accept the underlying premise.

    Example #2: all stats tend to show black down the economic ladder as a whole, so why do they support the party that supports illegal immigration. Just makes no sense.

  • bflat879

    Blacks have been voting against their own self-interest for years and I don’t expect it to stop any time soon when they have leadership like Sharpton, Jackson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder. I’d include Barack Obama but we all know he’s not a leader.

  • Lee Reynolds

    “African Americans will not prosper in the coming years until inner cities become less tightly regulated and highly taxed…”

    Why do you assume that black folks live in inner cities?

    Some do of course, but that is hardly where most of them live, not by a long shot.

    Most black people live in the rural south.

    (Admittedly this map is 20 years old, but it was the only one I could find at the moment. I’ve seen, but cannot currently find, a more recent map. The differences between the two were minor however.)

    There is this persistent myth, promoted by the left most of all, that black people are these shattered wrecks living in slums where no one else dares to go.


    That is where black people live in areas where leftists dominate politically, but that is not where they live overall.

  • Ralph Gizzip

    Considering blacks voted for Obama at a 96% clip I’d say they got the government they voted for.

    The black community has voted at > 90% Democrat for 50 years and over that time the quality of life in that community has steadily deteriorated. You’d think they’d try voting “R” for a change, especially in local elections.

  • Gumby

    La Griffe du Lion was not available for comment.

  • mark of Lombard

    Hmm… Blacks are close to one-sixth of the workforce, aren’t they? So if their unemployment rose six times the increase in the general population, does that mean unemployment for everyone else remained steady?

  • Fail Burton

    Any time a culture expresses a larger interest in the world through the narrow lens of race, it will be too parochial to compete with those who do not. Forget race, start huddling by interests – problem solved. When the same number of black folks are watching an all-white NHL as are whites watching an almost all black NBA, that’ll be a big indicator.

  • Thucydides

    Since unemployment is actually over 10% (once you count back in the unemployed who are no longer looking, the U3 figure), then it satnds to reason that unemployment among American blacks is far higher than the 13.6% figure (possibly as high as 15.5 to 16%.)

    Lets publicise the true figures, please, so this debate can be done in a sensible manner and real solutions may be discovered. If I was working under the assumption that unemployment was “only” 8.2% then my proposed solutions would be missing many millions of people.

  • ray

    Foodstamps,unemployment insurance are nothing but modern day slavery.
    Yes I said slavey. The dems are awfull.
    Dare you vote for anybody else.
    40% of federal money being spent is borrowed.
    How long can the dems keep that up.

  • Mark Michael

    People of all colors & ethnic backgrounds are tempted to vote their hostilities rather than their self-interest when they are in conflict. It isn’t just blacks, although blacks demonstrate it so transparently, given their 90% D vs. 10% R voting records. (It was 3.5% R 96.5% D in 2008 with Obama on the ticket.)

    Another example: Jews vote D 80% of the time, yet their “socioeconomic status” (SES) puts them in the upper 20% of the income scale for the great majority of them. That led to the joke, “Jews live like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans!” Never mind they’re comparing a Protestant church denomination with islanders. (Actually there are a large minority of Episcopalians who vote like Puerto Ricans also. Is WRM one of them? Suffer from white guilt, I guess. Or benefit from cushy positions in the government…)

    Jews are voting their long-time fear, concern, hostility towards (potentially) anti-semitism among Christian Protestants. They’re willing to vote against their perceived economic interests (R’s) and for D’s – who often vote to against the economic interests of the wealthier Americans. (Higher taxes on the rich to pay for more welfare programs for the poor.)

    I think there are lab experiments that back this up. If people are given the choice of punishing their opponents but having to suffer loss of some monetary reward in one of these lab experiments, a big percentage will choose to settle for less money if they can punish their adversaries.

    Some, of course, will choose the larger amount of money and forego punishing their enemies. But that’s a minority of the lab subjects as I recall.

    Think about the 9/11 hijackers. They were willing to give up their lives to punish their enemies. They made the ultimate sacrifice.

  • Marty

    This sounds cold, but if the Blacks don’t care (still about 97% in the tank for Obama) why should I?

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