For Immediate Release


Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Black Unemployment


wrote "The Novocaine Effect: Obama and Black America" in the recent
print edition of CounterPunch. He said today: "Obama said that there's
limited funds at the 'Jobs Summit' yesterday, but that doesn't seem to
apply to billions for war. ...

"By any economic measure the black community is in a severe
depression. Unemployment among blacks was high before Obama took
office. For blacks in the 16-24 age group it's been double-digit
unemployment for decades. Nevertheless, in the time between Obama's
inauguration and the present, the unemployment rates for the parents of
many of those unemployed youth nearly doubled. As of September, the
'official' Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the overall black
unemployment rate at 15.4 per cent: 16.5 percent for adult men, 12.5
for adult women and 40.8 per cent for teenagers. Some economists
estimate that the actual overall rate is in the 30 to 35 percent range,
with the 'unofficial' teenage rate far surpassing the 50 per cent mark.
These rates remain unchanged even as the overall rate, as of the end of
November, has dropped from 10.1 to 10 percent.

"The $787 billion stimulus plan didn't do much for the unemployed.
No targeted youth or adult jobs program was part of the package. The
most that the jobless got out of the stimulus deal was extension of
unemployment benefits, if they hadn't already dropped off the rolls. At
best, stimulus dollars forestalled some teachers being laid off and
kept road crews working. If hiring more cops is a good thing,
ostensibly to ramp up their drug war and gang suppression activities,
the bill did that as well. It must be noted that the share of public
funds to the police-penal state has nearly doubled as a percentage of
civilian government spending over the past 50 years and now stands at
15 percent."

Gray is author of the forthcoming book The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama and is a weekly guest on "Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams" on Sirius Radio.


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