Black Unemployment at Lowest Rate in 17 Years

President Donald Trump signs the Historically Black Colleges and Universities HBCU Executive Order, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office in the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In the months since Donald Trump became America’s 45th president, the unemployment rate among black people has hit the lowest number since 2000.

In February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the black unemployment rate at 8.1, but the number dropped to 8.0 in March, 7.9 in April, and 7.5 in May.


During most of Barack Obama’s presidency, black unemployment was in double digits, hitting a high mark of 16.8 in March 2010. Between July 2008 (during the financial crisis) and February 2015, the rate remained above 10 percent.

Black unemployment has not been this low since December 2000, when 7.4 percent of African-Americans looking for work were unable to find it.

This good news should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because the workforce participation rate remained low in May, at 62.7 percent. It is possible that many people stopped looking for work, just as others found good jobs.

Some might argue that Obama could be credited for this drop in unemployment. But under that logic, Bill Clinton is responsible for the increase in black unemployment in the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency.

Even so, this decline in the black unemployment rate is good news for the new president during his first year in office.

This comes on the heels of a Los Angeles Times report that President Trump has been a unique champion of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“For [President] Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything — especially for black people,” Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, told the L.A. Times. “But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs.”


But Trump came into office with no expectations, and has pleasantly surprised black leaders like Kimbrough. “He’s coming in saying he’s going to be the president for HBCUs,” the university president noted.

“In the first four months of his presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration,” Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students attend black colleges, told the Times.

This is far from the only praise given to the Trump administration from black leaders. Black education leaders praised Betsy DeVos during her difficult confirmation hearings. Black religious leaders endorsed Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump promised a change for black people, and it seems like he has delivered on it.


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