African American Unemployment at 16 Percent

· June 21, 2011

The economy and jobs will be big issues in Washington again this coming week.

While unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it’s at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that, historically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it’s at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2 percent. For black males, it’s at 17.5 percent; And for black teens, it’s nearly 41 percent.

For some, it’s crunch time at STRIVE, a job training program in East Harlem, where instructors use drill sergeant-like techniques. They teach job-seekers to correct their mistakes by fining them a quarter each time they make them.

For young men of color, especially black males in New York City, things are especially bad. According to the think tank, the Community Service Society, 34 percent of New York’s young black men age 19 to 24 are not working.

“If you haven’t connected with the world of work by the age of 25, it’s a permanent problem for the rest of your career,”

says David Johns with the Community Service Society.

Christopher Scott, 20 and a high school drop-out, got a GED last year, but he hasn’t been able to find a job ever since.

“It makes me feel degraded in a way cause at 20, I should be more independent,”

Scott says.

For those with less than a college education, finding a job alone isn’t the answer. Even if they secure employment, it’s often below minimum wage, and in places like New York City, it’s barely enough to survive.

Jermaine Christian, currently working as a restaurant busboy, graduated from one of the top high schools in the city in 2010. He can’t afford college, so after searching for a year now, he works for $5.50 per hour.

“I became more or less desperate and took anything I could find,”

Christian says.

Job counselors say part of the problem is that high schools aren’t teaching marketable skills.

“Unless you have a skill coming out of high school, in this society, in this economy, you will not be able to find a job,”

Johns says.

Even so, in this climate, where jobs are scarce, even having a real skill is still no guarantee of a job. CBS

  • kool-guy

    if you are a young black man you must be the smart guy and mr. popularity to find a job.

  • malcolm X

    I hope My Brothas finally coming to the point of understands Obama aint nothing but a Puppet and all talk.

    Republicans Hate us
    Democrats Want you to stay on the Plantation(mentally)

    • Voice of Reason


  • paul

    those numbers are WRONG…it is way higher than the mainstream media is telling you…

    • countryboi

      I agree. I haven’t worked since Dec. 08, and i know cats who been out longer than that.

  • gphi

    Since it seems like you have to already have a skill coming out of high school, trade(technical) school might be a good way to go, especially since everyone can’t afford college. PEACE!!!

  • Tim

    Some employers come right out and say they don’t think you will be happy at an work place. Crazy but true! How do they know you will not be happy working at a job.

    I think that figure is more like 20 something percent.

    • Tim

      I remember “Strive” here in my state of Maryland, It’s a good program for you to go in an feel proud. But what they don’t tell you is that you will have Women who work there judging you right out the gate. For a man who has nothing left that might not be the right place to try and put life back together at.

      I think men should handle certain situation when dealing with other men who have been beaten down by system. Sometimes women just don’t get it. I saw this when I was 17, I can only imagine what it’s like now.

    • Gizmo

      I just had a interview last week and it seem like they were trying to persuade me that I might not like the job. Im thinking, damn and you work here lol? With this economy you have to take whatever you can get, and hope things will get better. Im a veteran, and have a degree and its still impossible to find a job SMH!!!

  • presto

    its all bout who you kno…and what strings you can get pulled these dayz…

    • Gizmo

      yessir..especially right now. You pretty much have to have somebody looking out for you.

  • http://MTO Walter Sellassie

    Black Men need to start going to college. Nobody wants to hire an uneducated N1GGA. Why?

  • Poppichuloco

    Good post Hahz!!!

    Stay Thirsty & Work!