BET’s Founder on What Trump’s Economy Is Doing for the Black Labor Force
**BET Founder Robert Johnson Comments on Whether Trump’s Economy Is Hurting or Helping the Black Labor Force
Black workers are returning to the labor force, thanks to the growing U.S. economy and improving the business environment, BET founder Robert Johnson told CNBC this week.
Johnson, the country’s first Black billionaire and chairman of The RLJ Cos., spoke ahead of Friday’s jobs report, which showed that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in March, a number far below the 193,000 gain economists were expecting.
In January, the Labor Department reported that Black unemployment (in December) had reached the lowest rates ever recorded since the records began in the early 1970’s. That number rose the following month, however, but fell again in February. The rate remained unchanged in March, sitting at 6.9 percent, according to the latest report.
“When you look at that [January report], you have to say something is going right,” Johnson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “You have to take encouragement from what’s happening in the labor force and the job market.”
“When you look at African-American unemployment … you’ve never had African-American unemployment this low and the spread between African-Americans and whites narrowing,” he continued.
President Donald Trump was quick to take credit for the record-low Black unemployment, even though the downward trend started under his predecessor Barack Obama. Johnson, who has known Trump for years, said he believes the president wants to work with Black Americans and all Americans to continue boosting the economy. He even credited Trump’s recent tax cut for helping to bring unemployment rates down.
“… I believe if you take into account the Trump tax cut, you take into account the drop in unemployment, … and you take into account that interest rates are fairly stable” the U.S. economy is gonna grow, said Johnson, a Democrat. “I believe the economy is on a strong grow path.”
Johnson went on to speak about a job offer he received from the president, noting that he declined the unspecified position because he didn’t want a government job — not because he disagreed with Trump’s policies.
Hear more of his commentary above.