Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Devils in the Details: A Call for Action on the Latest Unemployment Rates.

"600,000 jobs lost in January would be equal to every job in Maine."
~White House spokesman Robert Gibbs

The US economy formally began to enter a decline, or a recessing period, in mid-2008. However, the housing index, which many use as a gauge of the US economy, peaked and began to decline in mid-2005. Since that time, US corporations have reported lowered earnings quarterly and they've reported lower earnings guidance for future quarters. Resulting from these gloomy announcements, investors have lost confidence in US corporations' ability to produce large profits, so they've pulled out their investment dollars. In the banking industry alone, the crisis was even gloomier because individuals and businesses began defaulting on their loans, which led to their eventual demise and greatly contributed to some of Wall Street's largest firms closing their doors. This massive withdrawal of money from investors around the globe that had been pumped INTO the US economy, gave US corporations access to less money to use to run and expand their businesses. These global investment decisions translated directly into a loss of employment. In our current economic crisis, we have seen a tidal wave of unemployment. Reliable jobs and Stalwart companies have fallen by the wayside.

The most recent data on employment reported the most dismal numbers.
--- Almost 600,000 jobs were lost within the last 30 days here in the US. Apparently, that's equivalent to the working population of the state of Maine. Unfortunately, the demographic realities of that numerical equivalency do not compare, as we now see the impact of unemployment and underemployment has most disproportionately afflicted African Americans.
--- There was a 12% increase in unemployment amongst Blacks from Dec. '08 to Jan. '09.
--- Out of the 11.6 million unemployed Americans as of Jan. '08, there are presently 2.2million unemployed African-Americans; herein, 18% of unemployed Americans are Black, even though we comprise only 11.5% of the working population.
--- As of Jan. '09, 12.6% of Blacks are unemployed - a higher unemployment rate per race than that which is found in any other racial group in America - while only 7% of whites are unemployed in the US. Herein, Blacks are almost 2 times more likely to be negatively impacted by unemployment in this current recessionary period.
--- Most astonishingly, since Jan. '08 (1 year ago), unemployment amongst African-Americans has risen 38%!

One group that has not gotten the same acknowledgment as the unemployed is the underemployed. I am talking about workers that are working jobs where they are overqualified. College graduates from a year ago, working minimum wage jobs. Recently laid-off workers re-employed at lower paying jobs. Former full-time employees that are currently working part-time jobs. The mainstream media glosses over the fact that more American's are working part-time jobs. This is not just to knock out a credit card bill or for extra spending money. These part-time incomes are supplements to what a worker was already bringing home. With private sector businesses cutting jobs at historical levels, many career workers are now starting over... at the bottom. We have a wave of high level educated workers that now have to compete for jobs with low wages. Carowinds Amusement park located in Fort Mill, SC recently started hiring for seasonal jobs. They have had one of their largest applicant pools in recent years. They had workers with MBA's and workers with 10 plus years experience. Last week you were an associate vice president and now you are working for Nick Toons Café.
Now add this dilemma with Middle Level Workers losing their jobs as well. You have managers (such as someone's boss), the Analyst down the hall or the human resources person. These workers were making just above entry level pay but were not making executive level pay. Right there in the middle and now they have to start over again as well. It's an eye opener when you go from company provided medical benefits to using an emergency room as a clinic. The middle class was already getting pinched by rises in the cost of living. Now if the people making six figures are struggling, then the guy making fifty thousand a year is in deep trouble.

Although this is an American problem, as we have noted African Americans have been disproportionately affected by this economic crisis. What if 12% of white people lost their jobs? Yet, even in the midst of these worsening realities, we see very few organized actions being done to address this disproportionate racially-defined crisis. Even though there are more than published 1500 articles on the web that reveal these disparities, what actions must be taken to directly impact these disparities in a positive direction?

Now more than ever is the time when we need to support initiatives that will improve the economy. We must invest in Green Businesses, Infrastructure Projects, Small Family and Minority Owned Businesses. Everyone must purchase their products and services daily. NOW, is the time that we (as Americans, regardless of color) must decisively choose to rally together in order to improve the economy. Only then can we raise the standard of living for everyone, by starting at the bottom and pushing up.
Co-Written and Researched by DougMG and Citizen Ojo


Anonymous said...

My family has not been hit w/the job loss yet thanks be to God who rebukes the devourer for our sakes.

This doesn't mean we're unsympathetic to others' crisis because we know we're each just one paycheck from welfare ourselves.

I don't think the jobless disparity has created such a huge outpouring because we were being laid off well before 2008. Our recession began eight years ago w/a president and congress that didn't care.

Our rallying cry should have began a long time ago. Now is it too late? Will our collective voices insult our new President?

Citizen Ojo said...

Debo Blue -

Good to see you back.... You are right, the rally cry is late but remember what they said way back..
“The fundamentals of our economy are sound”... ha ha ha