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

CBC hears testimony about unemployment, race

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" 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. Mike

    Ben Jealous? As much as he sticks his hand out, he should call himself Ben Dover.

    March 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Michael from Ventura

    This is the real world America- and before you jump on the band wagon to yell at the President, you need to do some fact-checking first. This is the result of the grand obstructionist party- plain and simple.

    March 17, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. T'SAH from Virginia

    We – as African Americans – feel the weight more than the overall average of unemployment of 9.7% – always have!! Some would blame it on "we don't want to work – all we want to do is collect TANF or unemployment!!!" That's not TRUE!!!

    There is a limit of 5 years getting assistance from the government in the form of WELFARE – so the HATERS should not HOLLER about that – most would work if the jobs were there!!!

    Find projects that need to be done in these cities where the African American population is the highest – like fixing the roads, bridges, renovation old schools, buildings, etc. Contract larger corporations that are willing to give 'on the job' training that would benefit the workers.

    I truly believe that solving the JOBS problem would have to start from the BOTTOM up with the more qualified businesses (who would also get paid) teaching and training!!

    March 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Lets all call Limbaugh and crash his computor system

    We need to get jobs to the cities,maybe urban farming and other things.Lets put on the thinking caps.

    March 17, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. WoW

    This is why thaere is racism in America. Everyone should be treated as one. There shouldn't be seperate laws or seperate funding for any race or religious group.

    You can't give funding or pass laws for African Americans and not for White Americans. Just like you can't give funding or pass laws for White Americans and not African Americans.

    Until black leaders find a way to incorporate themselves with the whole of our nation and not say "we need this for african americans, etc," then racism will continue.

    Everyone should be treated the same.

    March 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Hope and change in 2010

    Sorry, but focusing jobs on African-American communities sounds like discrimination against areas with large numbers of unemployed white people. Oh wait, you can't discriminate against white people, what am I thinking...

    March 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Paul Ernest Show

    Everyone is hurting in this one, and black folks are not alone. We have to be more patient and maybe focus energy on private businesses recruiters, to encourage them to ensure diversity in their new, recruitment exercises. The NAACP is not going to loose directing letters to companies, encouraging them to be more diverse.

    March 17, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Ilan Ben Menachem

    I truly believe that solving the JOBS problem would have to start from the BOTTOM up with the more qualified businesses (who would also get paid) teaching and training!!

    March 17, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. File under "Sarcasm"

    Interesting numbers but are they telling something about cause and effect or just simply dumb statistics. Isn't this another attempt to ask for special entitlements based on statistical racism?

    March 17, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Just looking at the picture, I see a whole lot of corruption. What happeded to the $3 trillion dollars we spent on the "Great Society" programs. Did it change anything? Is the Health Care Insurance Reform plan of the administration going to help anything? Did the "stimulus" bill do anything but stimulate the unions to want more of our money? Michael from Ventura@ after the trillions and trillions of dollars we have poured in to this, what more should we do? The standard liberal plan is to perpetuate this condition. That is why we have poverty pimps like Sharpton and Jackson.

    March 17, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Albo58

    The CBC is a totally corrupt, race-baiting club that specializes in the extorsion of American taxpayer dollars! Here's an idea: get educated, get a job, and get on with your lives! The US Constitution does not owe you a monthly check!

    March 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. File under "Sarcasm"

    I also finding it interesting that Charlie Rangel, one of the House's biggest crooks (or dumbest politicians, take your pick) is out there front and center in the picture. Probably trying to make sure he's seen as being on the right side of this issue to rehabilitate his image.

    March 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Debby

    This is sad to bad the black community didn't think of this before they pulled that levor and vote for somebody qualified instead of voting color.

    March 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    @ T'SAH: Unfortunately, you are right. Racism is alive and well in the U.S., all we have to do is listen to the far-right rhetoric, name calling, hate, listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, and read Teabaggers signs.

    Recessions are always, historically speaking, harder on minorities.

    The Great Recession started in 2007, we are seeing signs of recovery in our state. And our house painter, told us, that he has more work than he knows what to do with! He can't find enough painters to hire!

    March 17, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. jeff jackson, alabama

    I live in Alabama, hence the name J.J. from
    I work with the public in retail and finance.
    Let me clue you all in on unemployment.
    The wages for labor in my state and I'm
    sure alot of other states is so low that it
    creates a situation where no one is in a hurry
    to give up unemployment. The Plain Simple Truth.
    We have a Hyundai plant here that pays it's
    assembly workers 14 dollars per hour.
    Would you give your unemployment up when
    that is one of the best paying jobs in the state?
    And by the way, take child care cost for a couple
    of kids out of that 14 dollars an hour and you
    don't have enough left to buy grits.
    And by the way, I am a Republican. But blind
    I'm not !!!

    March 17, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. Marcus Tate

    Maybe I'm not reading it right – Blacks comprise 18% of the unemployed? So what makes up the other 82%??

    March 17, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. realtiy

    Articles such as this only perpetuate the race relations in this country. I know so many people, of all races that have lost their jobs and are actively seeking employment.

    What exactly has the Obama adminstration done to help promote jobs? Nothing. Their idea of solving the problem is to take from the rich and give to the poor.

    March 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. gimme gimme

    well a discprepency doenst always mean what you WANT it to mean. You can say there is higher unemployment bb/c of racism but why cant it also be do to lack of education, drive, ambition, socio-economic status, etc?

    March 17, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. It's time for another change!

    How can this be?? Blacks have traditionally voted Democrat for years in their communities, yet their problems continue to get worse. If Democrats have the solutions for minorities, shouldn't those communities have improved? Seems like people need to re-evaluate their vote.

    March 17, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. cspurgeon

    Lets not start breaking out segments. Its painful for all and all need a recovery.What was the minority % when unemployment for nation was at 5 %. We all need to improve at same rate. Obama is the president of all not a specific group.

    March 17, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Everyone is hurting in this economic crisis and we as black people must look inside our own neighborhoods because there are more jobs in restoration. White people would love to see us take initiative and pride in restoring our neighborhoods and guess what, they will help. So I advise every black person, this ain't no black's only crisis.

    March 17, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Kevin St Pete FL

    As an African American, this one of those thing we have been talking about for DECADES, and since the recession, things have gotten worse. For far too long, we have had the door slammed in our face when it comes to getting a job. I should know, You see, when I got out of the Army back in 2005, I tried getting a job as a Heavy Equipment Operator with the construction firms here in Pinellas County, FL. They didn't even bother to look at my resume, they simply took one look at me, and said that " I was over qualified" or " we are not hiring" only for me to go back there 3 days later, and lo and behold, the "now hiring sign" is out in full display. I went to school to be an X-Ray Tech, Graduated with honors, and it took me an ADDITIONAL 3 months to land a job, and I did all this while I was homeless with my wife and 2 daughters at the time. So, yes, I can tell you truthfully that I have felt the sting of discrimination when it comes to seeking employment, and it's not right. The thing is we have been telling you this for a long time, only now, because we have a Black President, you're beginning to listen.

    March 17, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Peggy - TX

    Asking for special entitlements based on statistical racism is ABSOLUTLY WRONG!!!

    But taking notice that unemployment is worst for Blacks, identifying measures that would tend help to that group and that are also color neutral, and then enacting such measure with out regard to color is a good thing.

    The ideal result is that the unexplained mechanism that is tending to hurt that particular group is likely also hurting others similarly situated. For example, a likely problem is that the decay of inner cities exaggerated the lose of jobs in the inner cities, which could have had a spiraling affect on business that rely on proving services to people in inner cities. One measure could be a program that not only provides more jobs in the inner cities, but helps improve the infrastructure of inner cities.

    Nothing wrong with having a black caucus that polls their leverage to help that particular minority. It is not like there is a need for a white caucus as we already they already have two looking out for our interest – they are called the Democrat and Republican Parties.

    March 17, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  24. Jon In Madison

    They got affirmative action. They use significantly more welfare than any other race in the country, even though they make up less of the population. Let's focus on these facts, before we give another hand out. More money is reaching the white community because, on average, more white people have college degreesand are qualified to take these jobs that are being created. SInce most of the stimulus money went to teachers and police departments, thatr would mean that it went to the people who had higher educstion levels. It has nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with education.

    March 17, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Jackie

    When all else fails PULL OUT THE RACE CARD.Minorities have absolutely no one to blame for failure but the person that fails-they have equal opportunity or more opportunity.

    March 17, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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