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National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality Says Newly Released Bureau Of Labor Statistics Figures Show Black Unemployment Continues to Rise

Published 01-10-03

Submitted by National Urban League

NEW YORK, NY - Figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today, show that while the nation's unemployment rate remained fixed at 6.0 percent for December, the unemployment situation has gotten worse for African Americans.

The unemployment rate for African Americans jumped by half a percentage point to 11.5 percent in December; an increase in a rate that is almost twice the rate of the rest of the nation's.

Equally disturbing are the continued disparities in the labor market for highly educated African Americans. In separate tables, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports year over year changes in unemployment by race and educational attainment for workers over age 25. From December 2001 to December 2002, the unemployment rate for African-American college graduates jumped from 2.7 to 4.0 percent, and for African Americans with some college, the rate jumped from 6.2 to 9.0 percent. By comparison, white college graduates had their unemployment hold steady over the year, falling slightly from 2.7 to 2.5 percent, and for those with some college rising slightly from 3.8 to 4.3 percent. Further, while the unemployment rate for African-American college graduates stands at 4.0 percent, the overall unemployment rate for all whites over age 25, regardless of educational level, stands at 4.1 percent.

The economic downturn while harsh for the entire nation has been devastating for African Americans. For all of 2000, the African-American unemployment rate stayed below 8.0 percent. It has not been consistently in double figures since 1997. Yet, in 2002, after reaching double digits in March, it has stayed above 9.8 percent, and now for two months straight it has remained above 11.0 percent.

Equally disturbing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, last month the number of jobs in the economy dropped by 101,000, and over the year 110,000 net jobs were lost. President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors predicts that the President's recently proposed tax cut plan would generate fewer than 200,000 jobs next year. Thus, it would barely make up for the job loss of last year.

The National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality calls on our nation's leaders to devise a temporary stimulus plan that will create jobs, be short-term in nature--so that it will not create federal budget problems in the future, or make permanent changes in taxes or federal budgets--and that will be fair, insuring that those who have been hurt the most by the current recession are addressed most. Compassionate conservatism requires that a safety net be put in place for the most vulnerable in our nation.

The National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality conducts research, policy analysis and advocacy focused on issues of critical importance to the African-American community and the nation as a whole.

The Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. The National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the nonprofit, nonpartisan movement, while Urban League affiliates operate in more than 100 cities in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

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