News / USA

Weak Job Market Hits African Americans Hard

The nation's high unemployment rate has hit minority groups in the United States especially hard. Black unemployment is the highest it has been in 27 years
The nation's high unemployment rate has hit minority groups in the United States especially hard. Black unemployment is the highest it has been in 27 years

President Barack Obama is proposing several measures his administration says will create millions of jobs and stimulate the sluggish economy.   The nation's high unemployment rate has hit minority groups in the United States especially hard.  Nearly three-million African Americans are having a hard time finding work after several years of massive job losses. 

Long lines at corporate job hiring fairs illustrate just how many Americans are looking for work.  The situation is especially dire for African Americans.  David Baker is looking for work in the banking industry in Los Angeles. "I have applied for, I would have to say, pretty close to over 300 jobs in the last year," he said.

The U.S. Labor Department says the nation's unemployment rate remains unchanged at 9. 1 percent.  But the jobless figure for African Americans is nearly double, at 16.7 percent, the highest its been since 1984.   



Economist Heidi Shierholz is with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington "So what we are seeing now with the black unemployment rate is actually what we would expect given the overall state of weakness in the labor market.  What we are experiencing here is just a profound lack of jobs across the board and that hits racial and ethnic minorities harder,"  Shierholz said.

Some African Americans job-seekers say even in sectors that are hiring, like healthcare, the competition is fierce.

"While I was in school I thought it would have been easier.  I said to myself as soon as I get out I will get a job because there is such a shortage of nurses all over.  But it has been difficult, since December I have been looking for work," said one job seeker.

President Barack Obama says high unemployment is holding down economic growth.   He is asking lawmakers to approve a series of measures his administration believes will create jobs. "Our economy has to grow faster.   We have to create more jobs and we have to do it faster," Obama said.

Analysts say there is also political pressure on Obama from African Americans supporters to fight for those hit hardest by the economic downturn.  Marc Morial is president of the National Urban League. "If he [President Obama] recommends a bold and imaginative jobs plan there will be those on the far right [Conservative Republicans] who howl in disagreement.  But there will be those in Americas urban communities in Americas rural communities the weak, the disadvantaged, that will cheer we need a jobs plan," Morial stated.

One program the Obama Administration wants to invest in targets assistance for the long-term unemployed.  

Jacklyn Willis has been out of work for six months.  Now she is in a program that gives unemployed workers eight weeks of training at selected companies at no cost to the employer. "It is a win, win scenario.  I decided that if I could go somewhere and volunteer for a while to see if it is a fit for me, and they [the company] get to see if it is a fit for them, then there is nothing to lose," Willis noted.

The plan has already shown results in states like Georgia where nearly a quarter of workers in the program were hired by the company at which they trained.  Sixty percent of those in the program found work elsewhere.

Shierholz says direct government hiring programs are needed in African-American and other minority communities. "The key thing in a program like that is that the decisions about where that money would be best employed would be up to local leaders.  And there would be some strings attached along the lines of a certain percentage of this stimulus money has to be spent on wages and those projects would be labor intensive," she said.

Economists say high unemployment especially for African Americans could remain high for several years.  Community leaders are hopeful that some type of government plan can provide faster relief for millions looking for work now.  





You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid