NEW YORK - January 29 - Today, National Urban League President and CEO, Marc H. Morial, released a new report showing that despite the improving economy, African-Americans and other low-income Americans are still being hurt more than whites by the jobless recovery.
"The National Urban League's Jobs Report," by the League's Institute of Opportunity and Equality found that the African- American unemployment rate is double that of whites, and that they are more likely than whites to endure long-term unemployment; that more college-educated and high-skilled African-American workers are unemployed than their white counterparts; and that African-Americans have suffered disproportionate job losses in manufacturing.
"The last recession has had a severe and disproportionate impact on African American and minority communities and the creation of jobs must be the first and foremost agenda of the nation's business, labor and political leaders," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League.
Highlights of the National Urban League report include:
-- The December 2003 unemployment rate for African-Americans of 10.3 percent, sustained in double digits for the past 14 months, makes the current recession the worst turnabout in the labor market faced by African Americans in more than 25 years.
-- College-educated and highly skilled African-American workers suffered greater job losses than their white counterparts, as the number and proportionate share of jobs held by African-American managers has declined, and the unemployment rate for blacks with college education has been at least one and a-half times that of their white counterparts.
-- The net loss of payroll jobs has been highly concentrated in manufacturing during this recession. In February 2001 the share of whites in manufacturing was higher than the share of African Americans (14.6 percent versus 13.4 percent). But while white workers reported some gains in manufacturing employment between July 2003 and December, the share of African Americans in manufacturing fell to 10.2 percent by December.
-- Optimistic fiscal and monetary predictors for job growth have not been realized. For example, the President's Council of Economic Advisors predicted 1.8 million jobs generated in the last half of 2003 as a result of tax cuts. The Council predicted that the economy would create 215K jobs per month, yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from June 2003-December 2003, only 220K actual jobs were gained in that six-month period.
-- Jobless recovery shows a troubling trend. Since employment reached its peak in February 2001, the economy dropped 2.7 million jobs through July 2003 and has regained only 220K jobs in the last six months. Roughly 8.4 million people are out of work and still looking, and about 1.9 million have been jobless for at least six months, the highest such rate in 20 years.
-- Each month, the labor force of the U.S. grows by around 150,000. That means extended lack of job creation is increasing our nation's job deficit. A recovery that would yield only 1.8 million jobs a year, would only keep up with labor force growth, and not address the current gap of 2.4 million jobs missing from the payrolls since February 2001.
-- Weak demand for labor is unprecedented. In current recession, it took 28 months from March 2001-July 2003 for the Department of Labor (DOL) to report the lowest level of employees on payroll, versus the two previous worse post-war recessions (`73 and `81) which reached their lowest points after 17 months. The 1990 recession, which mirrored current recession in slow labor market recovery, returned to its peak by the 31st month. Current recession in its 34th month and payroll employment still hasn't recovered.
-- Some 70 percent of workers receiving the federal unemployment extension of benefits are dropping off benefit roles because their time has elapsed, not because they are finding other jobs. Minorities represent a higher share of long-term unemployed: 29.5 percent African Americans versus 21.1 percent whites.
-- The drop in incomes has fallen disproportionately on African-American households; white households lost 1.7 percent median household income in the first two years of the recession, blacks lost 3.0 percent.
-- Adjusting for inflation, total wage and salary income in the U.S. has fallen 0.9 percent over the first 31 months since the recession started.
The Urban League plans to convene a jobs summit with business and labor leaders, establish a jobs commission and work to expand the Urban League's job training efforts in cities across the nation.