March 17th, 2010
05:13 PM ET
4 years ago

CBC hears testimony about unemployment, race

 At a hearing Wednesday, the Congressional Black Caucus released findings that show blacks comprise nearly 18 percent of the unemployed.
At a hearing Wednesday, the Congressional Black Caucus released findings that show blacks comprise nearly 18 percent of the unemployed.

Washington  (CNN) - Lawmakers reviewing the impact of the federal economic stimulus program say they are finding a need to more directly target the African-American community, where unemployment figures suggest the jobless picture is worse than the country at large.

At a hearing Wednesday, the Congressional Black Caucus released findings that show blacks comprise nearly 18 percent of the unemployed, even though African-Americans make up less than 12 percent of the labor force.

"The so-called Great Recession has been absolutely crushing for the African American community," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, in a statement accompanying an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee.

Federally sponsored jobs that have come from the economic stimulus program are not reaching black unemployed, according to Ben Jealous, the head of the NAACP. After his testimony, he told CNN, "We have 2,900 job centers around this country and when somebody walks in they only see 10 to 30 percent of the federally funded jobs that are being created - that's outrageous."

Also testifying was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said African-American workers are among the first to feel the economic downturn, and the last to see any recovery that might have begun.

"Schools are closing, bus drivers are being cut, urban hospitals are being closed, public post offices are being closed...the entire public sectors are under attack and that's (having a disproportionate impact on) people of color and cutting vital services at this time," Jackson told CNN.

In the Joint Economic Committee report, which is based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has risen to 19 percent for African-American men in the three-year time frame dating back to February 2007, when 9 percent were unemployed.

As of February, the median duration for a jobless black worker is six months, double the duration before the economic crisis began, the report found.

Among African-American women, unemployment increased from 7.1 percent to 13.1 percent during the same time, according to the report.


Filed under: Congressional Black Caucus • Economy • Jesse Jackson • Jobs
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. valwayne

    The CBC must not be listening to President Obama, VPJoe Biden, Press Sec Gibbs, and the rest of Obama's economic team. Don't they know the corrupt stimulous bill has worked wonders saving millions of jobs. They need to drink some Kool-Aide and get onboard the Obama dream express!!!

    March 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "We need to get jobs to the cities..."

    Why? Most of us don't live in cities, and the percentage of us who is getting smaller and smaller.

    March 17, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. How are you paying for it???

    OK, umemployment stinks.

    BUT I'm sick of tired of saying you can't discriminate on color, sex, religion, but all of a sudden, we're supposed to do more GOVT funding for one particular race.

    I don't think so.

    I'm not paying anymore taxes.

    You can have your subsidies, HC reform (welfare), as soon as there is a FLAT TAX (Equality for all).

    March 17, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Mike in NYC

    Cry me a river.

    Unemployment is higher among blacks than other groups because on average they're less employable. When jobs are cut, they're more likely to be the ones that a company can do without.

    A recent CNN poll found that since 2006, the % of blacks satisfied with their financial situation has increased. The % of whites feeling that way went down. So apparently this crisis hasn't been as bad for blacks as we're conditioned to think, and it's actually been harder on whites.

    March 17, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Conservative serving

    It's sad to see how many liberal posts blame "obstructionist parties" when they are not responsible for not hiring the increasing amount of African Americans. I have so much respect for minorities who have risen to success despite their challenges and trials. But I wonder if the CBC will ever require the President to stand by their side next time and acknowledge this plight, instead of the White House claiming all this success with jobs that have resulted from the stimulus package? There's obviously another story to be told to coincide with the high unemployment rate and increased deficit that has occured under the current administration.

    March 17, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Bugs in Pa

    So it has been devastaing, why to you want to worsen in by implementing the wealth sucking. job killing thing you call health care ?

    March 17, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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