For most of former President Donald Trump’s term, unemployment for all demographics fell to a point where, pre-pandemic, the rate was so low that many economists estimated that the U.S. was at full employment.
Trump did something that no of his predecessors had done: He lowered the unemployment rates for Hispanic Americans and black Americans to historic levels. This was something he repeated often on the 2020 campaign trail and in speeches.
Fast-forward to the present day: Despite the vast majority of the country having shed pandemic restrictions that created millions of job openings, unemployment for blacks has shot up again under President Joe Biden, a phenomenon which is undermining his pledge to leave no Americans behind.
“The rise in black unemployment in August is certainly troubling, considering their unemployment rates were already much higher than any other group,” Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, noted on Twitter.
Blacks also recorded lower levels of poverty under Trump.
Stephen Moore, an economist who was a Trump adviser, stated that the economic and employment trends for blacks under Biden were ominous given all of Congress’ approved COVID-19 relief.
“It doesn’t matter how much free money Biden passes out to people. There can be no black economic progress in households with no one working,” he stated.
“Overall, the U.S. jobless rate in August fell from 5.4% to 5.2%. But for blacks, it rose from 8.2% to 8.8%, a 7% spike in a single month,” Just The News reported, adding: “To put that number in perspective, black joblessness had reached an all-time low of 5.4% in the report that came out in November 2019, just before the pandemic.”
The analysis found that media attention has been disproportionately focused on August’s jobs report, which showed much lower gains than expected. However, for Biden, the most important data is the declining black employment numbers, especially if this trend continues.
“Black workers are often first to be fired and last to be rehired, so if the recovery slows we might expect to see that the impact is more on black workers,” Daniel Zhao, a senior economist with Glassdoor, told Reuters Friday.
“That figure on its own creates tough optics for the Fed as it approaches a consequential meeting this month, especially as other data from the Labor Department suggest the Black employment recovery from last year’s recession continues to progress – by some measures more so than for whites,” the newswire service noted.
Reuters acknowledged that blacks have made some good gains in recent months, but the overall situation was not ideal.
“After last month’s increase, the jobless rate for Black workers is still at crisis-era levels and is down just 0.4 percentage points from the start of the year. The unemployment rate for white workers, at 4.5%, is below the national unemployment rate and down by 1.2 percentage points from January,” the news agency said.
In October 2019, near the pinnacle of the Trump economy, CNBC reported that black and Hispanic unemployment levels were at record lows.
“The jobless rate for Hispanics hit a record low of 3.9% in September, while African Americans maintained its lowest rate ever, 5.5%,” the network reported, adding: “There have never been more Black and Hispanic Americans in the workforce.”