African-American unemployment rate up to 14.9%

The U.S. jobs report out this morning shows that the national unemployment rate jumped from 8.9% in April to 9.4% in May. For African-Americans the news is even worse, with a 14.9% jobless rate for Black Americans.

Please take a moment to comb through the numbers plainly laid out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ironically the U.S. unemployment rate has just now approached the rate for African-Americans BEFORE the economic downturn. Last May, The Black unemployment rate was 9.7%

For Black males over the age of 20, the news was better from April to May, but still shocking. In April, unemployment for black men was 17.2%, but dropped to 16.8% in May. Those numbers are up from 9.2% last May. White men by contrast had an unemployment rate of 4.9% a year ago.

Black men continue to be impacted by this economy at a disproportionate rate. And remember, these are men who are seeking work. The stereotype of black men who don’t want to work (shiftless and lazy as one of my colleagues calls them) does not apply here.

This has a negative impact all the way down the family line. Whether it’s the father who is struggling to retain respect in his home, or one who is stuck with the label of “deadbeat dad” black families are hurting. It further shows that a “one size fits all” approach will not work, as other factors are at work here.

This is all exacerbated by the lack of businesses in the black community. Rather than sitting around patting each other on the back all the time, Black America is going to have to wake up to the fact that we continue to lag behind in every major indicator. These jobless numbers are an “in your face” reminder of that fact.

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