Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for African Americans rose in May to 13.6 percent from 13.0 percent in April, the Labor Department said on Friday. The numbers mirrored the national unemployment rate, which also increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent, the first rise in 11 months.
Further, employers created only 69,000 jobs in May, the smallest amount in a year. The startling numbers mean that federal, state, and local governments will have to invest in job-training programs for African-American workers who are increasingly losing jobs like those in the public sector, Rep. Danny K. Davis (Ill-D) said.
For Davis, the issue of Black unemployment is a complex one. Still, much of our community being out of work has nothing to do with our unwillingness to work, which is what many high-profile Conservatives would like to have you believe. Taking Conservatives to task, Davis insists that laziness isn’t an accurate depiction of the problem. “I’m a guy who grew up picking cotton, which means that many of the people I grew up with did the same things. Work ethic has been an ongoing thing among individuals I know. Yet, many of them of them cannot find work.
“Yes, the unemployment rate is high among African Americans,” he continued, [but] “one of the reasons is because too few people have too much control of the decisions and resources and money.
“They are not letting it flow. In many instances, they are holding it. They are hiding it away. I think the American people are smarter than some of the pollsters and some of the analysts think.”
Even though the numbers seem bleak, Davis echoed many supporters of President Barack Obama, saying the numbers do not sound the death knell for his re-election. He also brushed back criticism that the president has done little to nothing for Black unemployment in America.
“We have not always kept up with education and training in our community,” Davis said. “As a result, we have lost work opportunities. That’s why we keep pushing so hard for education so that people can be trained and catch up to the requirements that are necessary.
“It will be a tough period between now and November, but people will redouble their efforts. They will put every bit of energy they can put into helping Barack Obama get re-elected. People, who know they need Obama, will work like hell to make it happen.”
With the announcement of the nation’s unemployment numbers Friday morning, though, Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican challenger, seized on the unemployment numbers, calling it “devastating news,” according to a release on his web site.
Indeed, no president has stayed in office since the Great Depression with an unemployment rate as high as 8.2 percent.
“Today’s weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families,” Romney said in the news release. “This week has seen a cascade of one bad piece of economic news after another. Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report all stand as a harsh indictment of the President’s handling of the economy.
“It is now clear to everyone that President Obama’s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class. The President’s re-election slogan may be “forward,” but it seems like we’ve been moving backward. We can do so much better in America. That’s why I’m running for president.”