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(DV) Sandronsky: Hring Crisis for US Black Teens







Hiring Crisis for US Black Teens
by Seth Sandronsky
August 6, 2005

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U.S. employers added 207,000 new jobs in July, while the national unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent, the Labor Department reported on August 5. Yet for one group of workers in America, there is little to cheer about when it comes to being hired by employers.

The July jobless rate for America's black teens was 33.1 percent, up by 0.7 percentage points from June. In other words, black teens are out of a job at nearly seven times the national rate!

Skin color matters in the U.S. labor market, presumably the global model for other nations to follow. Under American capitalism, employment opportunity is supposed to grow when the private sector is freed from government regulation.

That is one theory. Social reality is another matter entirely for black teens living in the U.S.

Their employment plight is hardly newsworthy in mass media reporting on the July jobs report. Think about that failure of American journalism for just a moment.

Black teens across the U.S. are experiencing joblessness as rates comparable to those experienced by the over-all adult labor force during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As my father told me, folks then had greetings that fit the hard times they lived. One example was "Are you working?"

Seven decades ago, he was one of the lucky folks who lived in urban areas and gained employment that paid him wages, laboring in rural areas for FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps. People’s organized resistance to the hardships they faced forced the federal government to respond when the private sector failed to create jobs.

Currently, the U.S. economy is growing. New jobs are being created in many sectors of the economy, including construction, real estate, restaurant and retail.

At the same time, there is a festering jobs crisis for America’s black youth. They are living in depression-like times concerning employment opportunities, with their absence from payrolls hardly front-page news.

Where is the outrage? Any at all?

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Peace Action and co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at:

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