Editorial

EDITORIAL: While Trump Celebrates Lower Unemployment, Blacks Left Behind — Again

As nationwide protests against police brutality continue following the murder of George Floyd’s death, another significant injustice could point to the surge of anger and frustration among African Americans: a rise in unemployment.

The Washington Informer, after the May report for unemployment was released last Friday, received a note from Trump liaison Paris Dennard, who is Black, which stated that the president had caused the best numbers for African-American unemployment in U.S. history.

However, the actual data points to a far different picture.

Yes, the unemployment rate surprisingly fell to 13.3 percent in May from April’s record of 14.7 percent, the Labor Department said, which was the highest since the Great Depression. But while unemployment among white workers fell to 12.4 percent, unemployment for Black workers rose to 16.8 percent — the highest in more than a decade. Add the fact the Blacks have far less reserves on which to rely than whites and one can see why Trump’s and Dennard’s celebratory words ring hollow in the eyes of the majority of African Americans.

Truth be told, the numbers reveal that Blacks, as well as women and young people, continue to bear the brunt of the economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic and related job losses have been especially devastating for Black households,” the Economic Policy Institute said in a recent report. “They have historically suffered from higher unemployment rates, lower wages, lower incomes and much less savings to fall back on, as well as significantly higher poverty rates than their white counterparts.”

Perhaps the president and his “spokesperson” were alluding to the fact that the spike in unemployment reversed what had been historic declines: Blacks had a record low unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in August. But this is not August.

The statistics were viewed with such optimism, that Trump suggested Friday that George Floyd, a Black worker who lost his job because of the pandemic before dying at the hands of Minneapolis police, would be “smiling down” at the falling unemployment numbers.

Smiling? We think NOT!

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