Thursday, April 28, 2011

African American Jobless Rate Tops 17% While Obama Attempts to Convince Voters

Study: African-American jobless rate tops 17%

Triangle Business Journal
by Lee Weisbecker
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 4:49pm EDT

Hit harder during the Great Recession, African-American workers in North Carolina have enjoyed fewer benefits from the recovery, according to a new study.

The Economic Policy Institute and the Raleigh-based North Carolina Budget & Tax Center say the unemployment rate for African-Americans averaged 17.2 percent in 2010 – essentially twice the 8.6 percent average for whites in the state.

The peak jobless rate for African-American hit 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

For whites, the peak was 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

So much for the downturn.

As for the recovery, the researchers found that, while the unemployment rate for whites had fallen by 1.5 percent by the end of 2010, it still stood at 17.5 percent for African-American.

“Every community in North Carolina has suffered through the Great Recession,” says Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center, “but African-Americans have taken a particularly painful hit.”

In 2010, African-American comprised 21 percent of North Carolina’s population, following a 17 percent increase in population over the preceding decade (during which the overall population increased 18.5 percent and the white non-Hispanic population increased 10 percent).

Tri-State Defender Online -

President Obama launches nationwide outreach to African Americans

By Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Published on 04/28/2011

President Obama and his administration will reach out to African Americans in coming months in a campaign to detail what the president is doing for them.

President Obama and his administration will reach out to African Americans in coming months in a campaign to detail what the president is doing for them.

A week after announcing his 2012 reelection bid, Obama sent African-American senior White House advisors into African-American communities across the U.S. to share stories about how the administration is working to enhance their quality of life.

“We’re taking the White House on the road,” Michael Blake, Obama’s director of African-American Outreach, told BlackAmericaWeb.

“There are a lot of positive and transformational initiatives to help the African-American community that people are not aware of.”

Through the program, the administration looks to reach more than one million African-Americans and hold 100 events in African-American communities across the country throughout the rest of 2011. A new web site detailing the president’s outreach to these communities has also been created.

Blake has already appeared at Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, Ga., and in African-American communities in Philadelphia. He also plans to travel to San Jose, Calif. and Chicago, Ill.

“We’re crisscrossing the country and taking our stories directly to people about how the African-American community is benefiting from the Obama administration,” Blake said. “We’re literally going to people’s homes and have direct conversations. We’re getting out of D.C. and approaching our efforts from a community level.”

The outreach comes at a time when unemployment remains high, especially among African Americans, and three months after the president singled out job creation as a central target of the administration’s domestic policy.

According to a White House news release, the president’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget would provide a $50 billion investment in infrastructure in an effort to use transportation spending – airport improvement, highway building, and high-speed rail development – to jump-start job creation.

Also, his budget proposal calls for funds to go to entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs in inner cities. The plan would also continue the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Tax Grants, which accelerate growth in the “green” industry and allow employers to hire more workers.

Obama spoke about his plans to stimulate job growth at a recent National Action Network Gala.

“We are going to keep fighting until every family gets a shot at the American Dream,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript.

“That’s our North Star. That’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night – the hopes and dreams of people who work hard every single day, look after their families, take care of their responsibilities, and just need a little bit of help to make it.”

(Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers)

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