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Black, Hispanic Unemployment Rates Rose in May

While the May jobs report showed that the economy added just 69,000 jobs in May, raising the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent, the news is even worse for blacks and Hispanics.

For African Americans, the unemployment rate rose from 13 percent in April to 13.6 percent in May. For Hispanics, the numbers were a bit better—the rate rose from 10.3 percent in April to 11 percent in May.

In his weekly radio address, President Obama acknowledged the bad numbers, but he tried to throw the blame back on Congress by urging Congress to act on a number of bills that are sitting in the pipeline that will stimulate the economy by helping states prevent more layoffs, put constructions workers to work and help small businesses do more hiring.

He says the nation has responsibilities that are “bigger than an election.”

Most of the new jobs came in the healthcare and transportation sectors, who each hired more than 30,000 people in May. But the dropoff in construction jobs—generally  a bad sign for black and Hispanic men—offset the gains in those two sectors.

The economy continues to be a major headache for President Obama, who is now being blamed by Republicans for failing to create more jobs—though ironically the stimulus package that he shepherded through, and that is still being attacked by Republicans, is credited by analysts with being one of the few ways that the economy has created jobs in recent years.

Some analysts have said the economy needs to add at least 150,000 jobs per month leading up to the election for Obama to escape being dragged down by the unemployment rate. May’s figure of 69,000 is clearly far short of that number.

“We had a tease,” said Keith Hall, a senior research fellow at George Mason University and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “It just didn’t last.”


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