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Ben Jealous: Black Are Doing Worse

Ben Jealous: Black Are Doing Worse

On Meet the Press today, NAACP Chief Ben Jealous said, “Right now when you look at joblessness in this country — the country is pretty much back to where it was when this President started. White people are doing a bit better. Black folks are doing a full point worse.”

“The big issues of this day also include marriage equality and immigration reform — they include making sure that we lift all boats,” Jealous said. “With this President having said we need to invest in a strategies that lifts all boats — we know that some boats are clearly stuck, the question is will Congress join him in getting those boats unstuck too,” the NAACP President concluded.

With divided government that includes a Republican controlled House only scheduled to be in session for 126 days in 2013, Jealous’ point that Congress must act would seem unlikely.  The Labor Department reported the Black unemployment rate up from 12.9% to 14% for December.

With regard to hopes that “a rising tide” will lift the boats of unemployed Blacks, March 2012’s jobless numbers showed that Black unemployment became worse even as the economy added jobs and other groups improved.

In January 2009 when President Obama took office the Black unemployment rate was 12.7%.  The best Black jobless number during Obama’s first term was 12.9% in November 2012.  The worst during Obama’s first term was September 2011 with 16.7% — the highest Black unemployment number since 1983 according to the Department of Labor.

The worst Black jobless number during President Bush’s eight years in office was 12.1% in December 2008.  The best jobless number for Blacks during the Bush years was 7.7% in February 2001 and 7.7% again in August 2007.

Additionally, in July 2012 the unemployment rate for Black teens became the highest sector of joblessness at a staggering 39.3%.  In May 2011 the Black teen jobless rate hit 40%.

A large coalition of civil and social rights groups, including the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, met for the second time on Friday to discuss what should be included in a “Black agenda” to be presented to the President.  Jobs was a major topic.  The coalition stated Friday they will urge the President to mention the need for an urban jobs plan in his State of the Union speech.