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Wall Street Cheers Lowest Jobless Rate in 5 Years, But Black Unemployment Still Too High

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While Wall Street and economists celebrated the drop in the national unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7 percent, African-American lawmakers in Washington, D.C., expressed frustration that the Black jobless rate still lingers well into the double digits, though it also fell from 13.1 percent in October to 12.5 percent in November.

On the news that the U.S. rate was its lowest since November 2008 and that 203,000 jobs were created last month, which is more than predicted, the financial markets had a robust response. The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked by nearly 200 points.

There was good news all around for the national economy and the White House, as the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 298,000, the lowest since May 2007 and a sign that businesses are laying off fewer workers.

“Job growth appears to be picking up,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics and co-author of the ADP jobs report.

One of the mainstays of the Obama years has been the notion that when the economy picks up in general, African-Americans will be swept up in the good tidings.

However, that has not been the case. Though the Black unemployment rate dropped last month, it remains nearly double the overall rate—a fact the Black community has dealt with for decades.

In an interview with, a visibly angry Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), a staunch Obama supporters, said Black unemployment has been “ignored.”

Cleaver joined his Republican colleagues in guessing that the jobless rate was dropping because so many people had stopped looking for work.

He said if any other group had a jobless rate as high as African-Americans, “a national crisis would have been declared.”

“Far too many African-Americans have been out of work chronically and when they do get re-employed, it’s generally at a significantly lower wage,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) told “In addition, their skill sets begin to deteriorate. It’s a national pressing issue and I don’t believe we’ve done enough about it.”

The rate among Black young people is particularly disturbing, as youth unemployment leads to many other social problems. Nearly 1 in 4 Black 16- to 24-year-olds was out of work in November, compared to only about 1 in 10 white workers in the same age group.

For 25- to 34-year-olds, the numbers are actually getting worse rather than better: In November 2013 Black workers aged 25 to 34 had an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent, while the number was 12.7 percent in November 2012.

For white workers in the same age group, the jobless rate is only 5.9 percent.


What people are saying

15 thoughts on “Wall Street Cheers Lowest Jobless Rate in 5 Years, But Black Unemployment Still Too High

  1. Anonymous says:

    Illegal Immigration's Impact on Black Americans

  2. Mariusz Pomianek says:

    Is the different in unemployment due to the dropout rate among the Blacks?

  3. Andy Voter says:

    The war on drugs…8 times more likely to be arrested than whites, (DOJ website), then try getting a job with a criminal record. Obama needs to man up and end this nonsensical prohibition.

  4. Tom Thomas says:

    Peter, that statrment about briging in competitors is just plain off the mark, Hispanic citizens are already here in America, why not accept them as American citizens like your foreparents were accepted. Respect people like you want to be respected.

  5. Joe Coco says:

    There is so much opportunity out there. Unfortunately, too many Americans believe opportunity requires an employer besides one's self.

  6. Tom Harry says:

    Mariusz, you bring up a good point. What is the correlation between blacks who just don't feel like going to high school to get an education (but instead would rather drop out to hang out with their friends), and their unemployment rate?

  7. Tom Harry says:

    According to this link– — the white dropout rate is 5.2%, and the black dropout rate is 9.6%. Get that almost-double dropout rate down, and I'll take your whining a bit more seriously. Okay, time for someone to defend ignorance. Go ahead, I'll wait…

  8. Jason Harris says:

    Yeah there is a correlation. The black workforce is so tied to manufacturing and service sector employment, those jobs have not come back in full force.

  9. Lowest job rate?? sure…and how many more are on food stamps and welfare now because of No jobs and because their unemployment has ran out. These idiots in Washington have no clue about the average person that does not have a full time job and has to get help from the government to just get by.

  10. Tom Harry says:

    Jason Harris ,that is a fair statement. I can't disagree. It would be nice, though, if those black high school dropouts would stay in school and aim higher than service sector jobs, yes? Only education will accomplish that.

  11. Gomer Wumphf says:

    And now the Progressive Lords led by Obama are demanding even more pay (jobless benefits extension) for their Progressive Serf brothers and sisters to not work and to increase the pay (minimum wage) of those who can only do low skilled entry level jobs. How do you think that will affect black unemployment?

    There are two kinds of Progressives – those who would be Lords and those who would be Serfs Progressives either detest or fear Freedom. Those who see themselves as the elites – the Lords – detest Freedom. They lust for power and adulation. Those who see themselves as weak – the willing Serfs – fear Freedom. They are unable to accept responsibility for themselves and willingly embrace being directed and controlled.

    On the other hand the primary focus of Conservatives is Freedom – the right to self-determination and the willingness to accept personal responsibility for choices made. Conservatives feel neither a need to suppress the rights of others nor a need to live subservient to others. Conservatives must emphasize the traditional American’s and US immigrant’s love of Freedom. We must make Progressives defend their cherished Serfdom and enslavement.

  12. Peter Swinson says:

    Tom Thomas – There are a finite number of jobs available at any given time. Immigrants from Mexico compete directly with blacks for the lower paying jobs. According to this article, black unemployment is high. The point that is missed is that these jobs are being taken by Hispanics. This article and your comment miss that mark.

  13. Eddie Vazquez Soltero says:

    Not every Hispanic is Mexican, and not every hispanic is an immigrant….I am a staunt advocate for immigration reform, however joblessness should not be blamed on them. People have to get up off there ass and look for work.. And believe me i know its not easy .. But these arent easy times takes effort and ethic .

  14. Marc King says:

    Black jobless rate still too high? Still? Really? No shit. We must be able to employ ourselves. Start a business, grow it till it needs employees, hire your people. Or shut the F*#@ up.

  15. Marc King says:

    Yeah, I'm black.

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