Unemployment Up; Worse for African Americans

New numbers from the Labor Department are bad news for black people, including the president. Republicans say that the news means he's not doing enough.

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The unemployment rate for African Americans rose in May to 13.6 -- that's up from 13.0 percent in April, the Labor Department  announced on today. The numbers mirrored (but are worse than) the pattern reported for the national unemployment rate, which also increased for the first time in 11 months, from 8.1 to 8.2 percent. 

According to the Washington Post, the negative economic news has already been seized upon by Republicans who argue that President Obama is at fault:

The Labor Department reported Friday morning that the country added a meager 69,000 jobs last month -- less than half the number economists had expected. It also revised its estimate of job growth in April down from 115,000 to just 77,000.

Markets fell sharply at the news. By late morning, the Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s and Nasdaq indexes had tumbled about two percent.

“It’s just headed the wrong direction,” said Keith Hall, a senior research fellow at George Mason University and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “There just simply isn’t enough growth in the economy to support job growth at a higher level.”

The disappointing results quickly became a political flash point, with Republicans seizing on the data as fresh evidence of what they called President Obama’s mishandling of the recovery. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the administration’s stimulus programs as spending binges and called on Obama to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as a way to add jobs.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney minced no words, calling the jobs report “devastating news.”

Read more at the Washington Post.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM