Overlooking African Americans

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, especially the Business sector, you would have noticed that the nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to quite a significant low. Currently at 5.8 percent (as of December 2014), US job recovery programs and aid continue to show the results of their fruitful efforts, along with the search of what economists call the “natural rate”, which stands around 4%. In addition to the overall national rate, local state unemployment rate have experienced drastic dips; as of November 2014, Nebraska holds as the state with the lowest unemployment rate, with a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.7%. It seems as if the nation’s moving onto the next stage of the business cycle after the Great Recession struck our country, yet, are we too hasty to make this judgement? Apparently, not everyone is benefiting from the improving economic conditions; the numbers of a certain minority group have shown otherwise.

From being first brought to the original 13 colonies as sources of labor to the passionate freedom marches during the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans have endured through generations of racial discrimination. Even today, they still do suffer discrimination, which is evident in their unemployment numbers. In New York, the African American unemployment rate is currently at a massive 13.2%, and has stagnantly maintained this high for a while. Not only are the unemployment rates high, but African Americans are quickly becoming misrepresented in the workforce. While many do hold a higher college degree, it was found that they often worked at lower end jobs like security guards or janitors, which do not require a sophisticated history of education.

A visual representation of the unemployment rate gap between Whites and Blacks in NY.

And so, you may ask, what can we do about this overlooked problem? While it is not easy to combat the main factor preventing the prosperity of African Americans, race, it is possible to propel them to a better standing through education. In order for an increasing number of African Americans to be employed, education is a key factor that will give African Americans a form of respect. It’s best for them to achieve a higher college degree. Regarded as the “key to success”, higher college degrees often bring about a better quality of life and a higher income, as it is easier for higher degree holding African Americans to be accepted for jobs. When African Americans have higher degrees, they are more often than not accepted into higher positions, which will also protect them from being fired first. In addition to a college degree, attending career oriented colleges will help reduce the unemployment amongst African Americans. When one attends a career oriented college, and follows through, they are more likely to immediately get a job in the field after receiving the diploma.

So the next time you come across a news article flashing the drastic improvement of the US Economy, think twice before you fully believe it, and consider the minority groups like African Americans who may not be represented in the statistics.


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