The December 2011 jobs report released last Friday showed signs of an economy in recovery. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest in three years, and the economy added 200,000. The Labor Department also reported that the number of new requests for unemployment compensation fell to 372,000 for the week ending Dec. 31 and the four-week average for claims also is at its lowest in more than three years.
The news wasn’t so great, however, for African-Americans, who saw their unemployment rate increase slightly from 15.5 in November to 15.8. In addition, the rate for Black teenagers and young adults exceeds 40 percent.
“We will never fully rebound or recover when a major segment of our nation’s population continues to struggle. More importantly, we cannot wait for opportunities to trickle down,â€ said Congressional Black Caucus chairman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri). “The recent announcement of President Obama‘s summer jobs initiative could not have come at a more critical time. The initiative will provide $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24, as part of the American Jobs Act‘s Pathways Back to Work Fund.â€
But according to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, initiatives like the Jobs+ program the Obama administration announced last week, as well as the stimulus program and new industry regulations, are the sort of gimmicks that prevent the economy from experiencing a full recovery.
“As a result of those policies, families across America are hurting. And instead of working with Republicans to get the economy moving, President Obama is engaged in a full-time re-election campaign, prioritizing his job over jobs for the unemployed,â€ Priebus said. “He has no long-term vision to fix the economy and no comprehensive plan to get Americans working again. All he offers are occasional gimmicks that create nothing more than campaign photo-ops.â€