Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

An acquaintance of mine that I've only seen a couple of times, but who occasionally sends me interesting information, sent me a link this morning to an article in Public Affairs Magazine. The piece, while hardly new news to many of us who pay any attention at all, compiles and presents a powerful argument that the current unemployment crisis (which shows, by the way, no sign of abatement and every sign of not only worsening, but being quite possibly permanent) intersects with the socially-constructed, political notion of race in a most lethal -- and well documented -- fashion.

It reports:

"The "official" unemployment figures for December 2009, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are 16 percent for African Americans, 13 percent for Latinos, nine percent for whites, yielding an average for all workers of 10 percent...The BLS survey attempts to count everyone who is actively looking for work, regardless of whether they are collecting unemployment. The real situation is far worse. The BLS also counts the invisible unemployed – those who want a job but are not actively looking, and who want a full-time job but can only find part-time work. The BLS' U-6 rate, which includes the invisible unemployed, is a far more realistic estimate of actual unemployment. The U-6 rate for all workers is 17.3 percent...The U-6 rate can be estimated as 28.0 percent for African Americans and 22.3 percent for Latinos...For African American men of prime working age (25-54), I estimate the "real" jobless rate at 26 percent. For African American teens (16-19), "real" unemployment is 74 percent...!

"...Before the economic crisis, roughly 79 percent of Black men aged 25-54 held jobs. Two years later, the figure was 69 percent. Did 10 percent of Black men become uneducated or lose their job skills in a two-year period? Did one quarter of working African American teens suddenly develop a 'bad attitude?' The more obvious and correct explanation is simply that the jobs are not there..."

To read the whole article, which outlines succinctly the true causes of African-American joblessness and what we can expect in the immediate future, go here.


Moi said...

...and the more they stay the same....

Changeseeker said...

But history tells us, Moi, and ultimately, I take great comfort in this and publish the idea far and wide: a change GONNA come. Always has. Always will. Hasten the day.