WASHINGTON (NNPA) - As summer streets await energetic teens in search of wholesome activities, Black lawmakers continue pushing for summer jobs funding. But they face resistance from opponents wary of putting more strain on the nation's already record debt.
The U. S. House of representatives passed a jobs bill that includes funding for high school students last week. But, the Senate has yet to vote on the final measure. Members continue to haggle over the H.R. 4213, which includes $1 billion dollars in additional funding for more than 400,000 summer jobs as well as other measures aimed at reducing unemployment.
The unemployment numbers for Black teenagers, the highest of any group, took a rise in jobless rates in May after experiencing decreases over six consecutive months. Their jobless rate, currently at 38 percent, has fallen almost ten percent since a decade high in November, when just under half of all Black teenagers were without jobs.
"Specifically, the bill includes $1 billion for a summer youth program and $2.5 billion in emergency assistance for needy families—two initiatives that will further our economic recovery," says Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in a statement. "This bill is good for the health of our economy and it is imperative for the U.S. Senate to act swiftly and pass this legislation."
Rates in White teenagers of working age in May, currently at 24.4 percent, saw an increase of 1 percent over April. White teens aged 16-19 saw a steady increase in their jobless numbers since February when it was 22.5 percent.
With the exception of April when it briefly rose to 9.9 percent, the national jobless rate has been hovering at a consistent 9.7 percent for the first half of the year.
In May, the national jobless rate for all African-American workers fell 1 percent from the previous month's record-high of 16.5 to its lowest point since September when it hit 15.5 percent. Experts predict that the drop may be due to the hiring of over 400,000 temporary workers, including Census employees.
Black males 20 and older have also seen a 1 percent drop in the jobless rate. The current rate is 17.1 percent, still highest of all categories, except youth.