Black Unemployment Lowest Level in 17 Years
Black unemployment has been on the decline since February — falling from (February) 8.1, (March) 8.0, (April) 7.9, and (May) 7.5 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The national unemployment rate in May was 4.3 percent, its lowest level since May 2001.
Unemployment for black Americans has historically hovered below their white counterparts. The Great Recession drove black unemployment near Great Depression-era levels, reaching 16.8 percent in March 2010. While most Americans were feeling the negative affects of the housing crisis, it was black lawmakers who were beginning to publicly blame President Obama for black America’s morass.
In August 2011, Congresswoman Maxine Waters called the black unemployment rate “unconscionable.”
A month later, Waters hammered President Obama for failing to “acknowledge the economic disaster in the African American community” while addressing his jobs agenda in the battleground state of Iowa.
Days later, then-Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver told reporters, “If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House.”