African Americans, Women, Especially Hurting Under The Obama Economy

It is funny how representation works. Both white and black liberals seem to see President Obama as the embodiment of the fortunes of the African-American community.

Yet Barack Obama’s status as President does not automatically bring prosperity to people who look like him or share some of his ancestry.

Today, in the midst of a really disappointing jobs report (that should have surprised no one), the White House attempted some spin. The Atlanta Daily News reports:

The White House has released a report discussing the most-recent unemployment numbers from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, and the African-American unemployment rate, is one of the groups to see a decrease.

Even though long-term unemployment remains elevated, it has somewhat subsided for historically marginalized groups, with the African-American rate reportedly decreasing .5 percent from November (12.4 percent) to December (11.9 percent).


The White House also reported that unemployment fell 5 percentage points between March 2010, when it was at a shocking 16.9 percent, to now.

But a person only count as unemployed if they are looking for a job. If they have given up looking then they aren’t counted and the unemployment rate goes down.

Consider last night’s PBS News Hour show, which brought in Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. You can watch the show here or read the transcript. I don’t think Baker knew the White House was trying to boast about prosperity among African Americans when he spoke on this show. Here is the salient question and answer:

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Dean Baker, to you first. What stands out to you mainly in this report for December?

DEAN BAKER: Well, I guess there were two things.

One, looking at the household survey, the big fall in the number of people in the labor force that was pronounced really across-the-board, but among African-Americans, we have the lowest rate of labor force participation among African-American men since we have kept that count. So that was really striking.

And then on the establishment side, as Lisa had said, people were expecting as many as 300,000 jobs. Just to see 75,000, that was certainly a very weak number. So to see two independent surveys both showing weakness same month, that indicates, I think, the labor market is certainly weaker than most people had perceived.

Should these men be comforted that Barack Obama is President?

Incidentally, the new jobs report also showed that women were hit especially hard.

The number of women employed dropped from 67,882,000 in November to 67,862,000 in December.

Additionally, the number of women who are not in the labor force climbed to a record high of 55,028,000 last month. That was up slightly from the 55,026,000 women who were not in the labor force in October, and up 203,000 from 54,825,000 women who were not in the labor force in November.

So who is waging a war on women now?

All the racial grievance industry and the “vote with you lady parts” campaigns do is appeal to shallow thinking. It pretends that the rhetoric of a leader is helpful rather than his actual abilities.