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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More