WASHINGTON (NNPA) - As the Black unemployment rate leaped another eight percentage points last month – from 10.6 percent to 11.4 percent, the White unemployment rate actually remained the same – at 5.4 percent, less than half the rate for Blacks.
In addition to that in every economic category, from the poverty rate to housing loss African-Americans remain historically and consistently at rock bottom – a condition exacerbated by the national housing and Wall Street financial crisis that forced Congress to reluctantly pass a $700 billion bailout last week.
"We're in a weaker financial position related to the mainstream in the first place," said Alfred A. Edmond, Jr., editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com, in an interview with the NNPA News Service. "The saying goes, 'when the rest of America gets a cold, Black America gets pneumonia."
Edmond is just one among Black economic experts across the nation who say that as America observes the economic fall out even after Congress' recent bailout of lending and investment agencies, African-Americans must establish creative ways to stay afloat.
"In every relevant economic number, Black people are worse off today than they were in 2000," says National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, in an interview following a Black Leadership Forum telephone conference pertaining to get out to vote efforts as well as the economic bailout. "We've lost ground in home ownership, we've lost ground in employment, we've lost ground in wage verses inflation, we have just lost ground economically in the last eight years."
After the Oct. 7 conference, Morial said the bailout was not a rescue but just something to help stop the bleeding.
"The ramifications of not doing it were worse than the ramification of doing it. For there not to be any credit, obviously, when it hurts big businesses, it hurts small business and it hurts the average consumer, automobile loans, personal finance loans, credit cards, that kind of thing," said Morial. "My position would have been that we have to hold our noses and go forth."
Morial, who predicted the mortgage crisis in the spring of last year, said the bailout will not be enough.
By Natalie A. Thompson and Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Special Correspondent and NNPA Editor-in-Chief