In its monthly report on joblessness in the United States, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on January 4 that the unemployment figures remained relatively stagnant.
For December, the overall rate was announced to be 7.8 percent. That’s the same as for November — even though November was initially reported as 7.7 percent and was later quietly revised upward to 7.8 percent.
According to the BLS, unemployment figures remained steady for adult men (7.2 percent), Hispanics (9.6 percent) and teenagers of all races (23.5 percent). The U-6 figure — which many consider to be the true unemployment figure because it counts “marginally attached” people who want to work but have given up looking — remained unchanged at 14.4 percent.
But unemployment for blacks (14 percent) and women (7.3) suffered an increase in December. For blacks, that’s a 0.8 percent increase over just one month!
Some reporting on the post-election economic malaise does not display any real confidence that the situation will change anytime soon. For instance, Jason Lange of Reuters wrote:
[T]he report reinforced expectations of two percent economic growth this year.
Such slow growth is unlikely to quickly bring down the unemployment rate and probably will not make the U.S. Federal Reserve rethink its stimulus plan anytime soon despite growing unease among some policymakers over its bond-buying program.
Project 21 member Derryck Green, who regularly comments on the findings of the monthly unemployment report for this blog, shares Lange’s grim pessimism in light of the fact that President Obama now acts as if he has a mandate to run the economy as he wishes and has implied he will not compromise with Congress in trying to run the economy the way he thinks it should be run.
Jobless numbers released last Friday continue to confirm what many Americans already know — the economy isn’t getting any better any time soon.
The unemployment rate held “steady” at 7.8 percent (with a U-6 total unemployment rate similarly unchanged at 14.4 percent). But unemployment numbers for women and blacks rose to 7.3 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The latter — a key part of the Obama political support network — suffered much worse than the previous month. Black teenagers fared the worst of all with an unemployment rate of 40.5 percent.
Furthermore, the total number of Americans no longer in the labor force totaled 88.9 million. This is an all-time high… for now.
Providing even more proof that high unemployment numbers are reflective of a sluggish economy with not much to offer is the fact that the federal government spent over $80 billion dollars on SNAP during the 2012 fiscal year. This total amount represents an increase of over $2.7 billion dollars from the prior fiscal year.
Adding insult to injury, while millions of Americans want to work but cannot find anything and therefore continue to struggle to make ends meet in a bad economy, President Obama issued an executive order in the last week of December that sought to end a pay freeze for already-pampered federal workers. Among the beneficiaries were to be the congressional leadership, the federal judiciary and Vice President Joe Biden, costing taxpayers close to $11 billion (the bad timing of the announcement caused it to be voted down by Congress).
Worse still, the recent fiscal cliff negotiations provided even more proof that President Obama seems more concerned about expanding the growth of government than reducing federal spending. The deal essentially added an additional $4 trillion dollars to the deficit because he refused to consider legislation including cuts to entitlements (and included other spending).
Keep in mind that the increased taxation and bloated fiscal cliff bill does not include the additional taxes being levied on Americans to fund ObamaCare. Don’t forget that it also began asking for new taxes at the first of the year. By extension, the unemployment situation will likely worsen as businesses freeze hiring and decide how many employees can afford to be kept as a result of ObamaCare’s implementation (and de facto penalization of businesses).
And don’t forget that last Friday was also the first day many Americans found out their take-home pay went down to the expiration of the payroll tax cut.
That the economy is in terrible condition and most Americans are feeling the strain in some way, shape or form — and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future — is easily recognizable. But the toll has been exceptionally tough on blacks, which the statistics bear out.
A bad economy isn’t simply about the economic struggles of black Americans. But when the unemployment numbers for a supposed core constituency — a group liberals constantly profess a keen interest in wanting to protect from undue and disparate harm —remain consistently as high as they have for blacks during Obama’s presidency, one has to ask what exactly black Americans who continue to support Obama are actually getting in return for their loyalty.
The only answer seems to be a black president — at the apparent expense of lower unemployment numbers and economic stability.
top photo credit: iStockphoto