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Table A-2 of the latest household survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells a miserable story about what it means to be young and black in America today.

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN - Both sexes, 16 to 19 years - Unemployment - (seasonally adjusted)

May 2012 - 36.4%

May 2013 - 42.6%

(This is almost double the rate for young white Americans, holding steady at about  21.6% since May 2012.)

What's going on? 36% unemployment for young black Americans was bad enough already, to say the least, but what the heck happened in the last 12 months to make it so much worse?Nobody seems to know, and meanwhile President Obama is busy with other business, and far, far away.

"In South Africa, Obama continues his focus on youth!"

Obama's foreign travel schedule these days can sometimes look like a globe-trotting college tour.

Nearly every presidential stopover includes a speech at a university auditorium, or if logistics demand, an off-campus venue filled with young faces. His weeklong tour through sub-Saharan Africa includes two events at South African universities; Obama will deliver another speech Sunday, at the University of Cape Town, where in the 1960s U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy dramatically declared that world challenges require the "qualities of youth."

"Don't lose those qualities of youth," Obama told the group of 650 young people at the Soweto forum. "Your imagination, your optimism, your idealism. The future of this continent is in your hands."

I don't know much about South Africa, but here in Los Angeles I can tell you that it takes a LOT of "imagination" to feel any "optimism" whatsoever about the prospects of young black Americans today.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, Obama should be working with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, bepanda

    Republican leaders to ... oh.

    Well, it's his fault anyway.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:16:57 AM PDT

    •  "Republican leaders to ... oh." (7+ / 0-)

      If you have something to say about a plan to alleviate the unemployment of young black Americans that President Obama is trying to force through Congress...

      If you have something to say, Bob Love, why don't you just say it, instead of playing cute little rhetorical games?

      What's the plan?

      How hard is anybody pushing it?

      And no, it isn't always about whose "fault" it may be.

      Fault or no fault, there are tens of thousands of young black Americans who have nothing, not even $1 for a Value Meal at MacDonalds, and rhetorical games don't help their prospects.

      •  The economy sucks. Especially for young blacks. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You're angry at Obama, so what do you want him to do?

        I appreciate your information, but not your idea-free complaining. Take the next step and think.

        "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

        by Bob Love on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 02:02:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Take the next step and think." (4+ / 0-)

          Thanks for the condescending advice, Bob Love, and I have to admit that I didn't get very far with thinking about these stats.

          Yeah, "the economy sucks," just as you say, and if that's as close as you want to look at it, I guess you got it covered.

          But why is it sucking so much harder for young black Americans, and why did it get so much worse in the last year?

          Set a good example! Think about it!

          I know you're a very smart guy, Bob Love (Seriously! And that isn't snark!), so whaddya think?

          •  Since this has just come to light, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Whitaker, bepanda

            it's not terribly reasonable to expect anyone other than a specialist to have a ready solution. Same for expecting Obama to be moving on a problem that just surfaced.

            But forcing anything through Congress is hopeless for reasons that have amply been discussed here for years.

            "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

            by Bob Love on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:15:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "... a problem that just surfaced." (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, SpecialKinFlag, Odysseus, unfangus

              Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Bob Love, but I can't agree that this problem "just surfaced," unless you mean "just surfaced in the mainstream media," and it hasn't.

              I dug this out of the BLS stats on my own, it wasn't featured in the NYTimes or the LA Times' article about what you might as well call Obama's "college tour" of Africa.

              Obama's foreign travel schedule these days can sometimes look like a globe-trotting college tour.
              And I'm not blaming President Obama for this whole mess.

              But I will say that it's pretty fucking ironic that the President is "focusing on youth" in Africa, while so incredibly many young black Americans are jobless and destitute, and there's nothing in the works to help them.

              •  Not only the huge unemployment of youth (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But you cannot even tell the truth, that immigration is one of the problems, without getting crap about being "opposed to brown people" or "being a racist asshole".

                We are being played by a combination of illegal proponents, immigration lawyers (who are the scum of the fucking earth), rich corporatists who want huge supplies of cheap labor, and all sorts of scum who are destroying the middle class under the pretense of being "Democrats". Enemies of the working people, I call them.

                Students are being destroyed by losing job prospects due to the H-1B and green card increases. American STEM/IT workers are being attacked in the same way. Blacks too - black IT employment has collapsed at the top end. At the bottom end, you find black folks working in hotels in the north, and they are entirely supplanted by latinos in the south and southwest.

                •  You aren't allowed to talk about that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Unless you have the same immigration policies as Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Clinton impeachment manager Chris Cannon, Orrin Hatch, the Cato Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Libertarian Party; then you're a racist.

                  "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

                  by Utahrd on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:57:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You must be a specialist...... kidding (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Frank Whitaker

                So anyone who proposes a realistic job creation program is a specialist?

                More kidding.

                As you note the increase from 36% to 42% is news, the overall trend is not. IT doesnt take a specialist to understand this, and it doesnt take a specialist to formulate a realistic solution to these unemployment problems.

                .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:02:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Obama's only solution (0+ / 0-)

              is to 'strengthen the middle class' and make sure everyone gets a college education. In the mean time, he still wants to put every kid that gets high into prison.

              "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

              by Crider on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I just might piss a lot of people off, but (0+ / 0-)

            IMHO Obama bailed out on ALL of the problems of the African American (AA) communities going back to the start of his first term when the Republicans scared him into dumping Van Jones from a possible White House position. Van was on tap to be Obama's contact for the White House to AA youth connection.

            Like a kid who burns his finger touching a hot stove, Obama never returned to the issue of helping AA youth again, which is why his speech to the young black men at the Morehouse graduation was so hypocritical.

            Now before I get blasted with the troll designation I will offer just a few things President Obama could have done on his own without the need to pass further controversial legislation through an Obama unfriendly Congress.

            (1) No STIMULUS FUNDS have been spent in any AA community anywhere in America. Why? Because Obama put Vice President Biden in charge of overseeing the distribution of STIMULUS funds to the states. Biden used the standard method of distribution which is normally used to send federal money to the states and it thereby lets the states decide how to spend the money. The net result of this procedure all of the states spent money based on their personally subjective priorities, and as a result none saw their own respective AA communities as being worthy of notice. Net result no dollars went into AA neighborhoods.

            (2) Obama made absolutely no attempt to capitalize on the wide spread currently active use of social media mobile technology among AA youth. There are many different and novel ways to effectively do this, but one of the target goals must remain a plan to devise a means to use this new technology to interactively distribute critical information to AA youth describing new and innovative government and private programs that are currently available, and in particular those that are open especially for AA youth. This would cover all manner of national information designed to help and serve AA youth. There are hundreds of young recent AA college grads who would love to take on an assignment such as this, but have received no such call from the White House.

            This is but a taste of some of the "Yankee Ingenuity" style projects that could have been initiated by President Obama for the benefit of America's beleaguered AA youth. However the AA community continues to get lots of symbolism and Photo Ops out of the White House but thus far has received little substance or sustenance from the Obama administration.

  •  Welcome to the economic "recovery" of the 1%... (8+ / 0-)

    ...for everyone else, not so much. And, for people of color, an absolute travesty to even mention the "R" word in any non-fiction coverage of same. 5-1/2 years after the Great Recession started, it sadly offends one's senses to hear that word used by our nation's leaders.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:22:16 AM PDT

  •  it's the collapse of American manufacturing (6+ / 0-)

    and I'm very afraid it will only get worse

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:26:21 AM PDT

    •  Since our employment system (3+ / 0-)

      rewards the hiring of foreign scabs for the jobs we do have here, yep.

      Since the immigration bill will continue the conversion of the construction sphere to an entirely immigrant sector, yep.

      Millions of jobs which used to be done by Americans are now done by immigrants. And it will only get worse when the immigration bill passes.

      We need to rethink our priorities. Do we want jobs for foreign scabs or for American citizens?

    •  No one is going to believe me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, Lepanto

      But I actually work in a factory.  In the US.  Incredible, I know.

      A few months ago, my employer bought some new equipment that eliminated the need to bring in temps.  Fortunately, we did not have to lay off any permanent employees.

      A few months out, we have hired more customer service reps to handle the calls that our increased sales creates.  But they have to be bilingual (Usually Spanish-English, sometimes Chinese-English and one Russian-English)

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:01:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Textiles got hit hard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker

      Manufacturing jobs have done much better than textiles since 1970.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:16:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  if we channeled a few of those trillions we waste (9+ / 0-)

    on unnecessary, unwinnable wars of choice into rebuilding our obsolete and obsolescent infrastructure there'd be no shortage of jobs

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 02:05:55 AM PDT

    •  I read that it costs $41M per year to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker, unfangus, Lepanto

      climate control one of the data storage facilities like the one in Utah.

      There is no discussion of whether this is a valid use of resources.

      There is literally trillions of dollars of "waste" in the budget by my definition of waste.

      Imagine how the world we feel about the USA if it had been leaked that we were secretly spending trillions on making the world a better place.

      Instead we spend that money on war.

      And our infrastructure and the people who use it crumble and struggle for "security."

  •  A good place to start (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    bepanda, Utahrd
    Hidden by:
    Roger Fox

    would be to look at what the 57.4% are doing that the 42.6% are not.

    Is it family?  Education?  Desire?

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 02:48:26 AM PDT

    •  So it has nothing to do with (6+ / 0-)

      a flawed employment system that is forcing older folks into low-paying  service jobs that used to be held by young people. It has nothing to do with discrimination against blacks,  right?

      And you're implying they don't  have the desire to work?No, that 42.6%, nearly half, should just take some personal responsibility, right?. Wow.

      You want to look at education? OK. What the hell are business schools teaching the so-called human resources people that are making these hiring decisions? And also, why are corporations sitting on record profits and choosing  not to  hire, but handing out big bonuses to CEO's?

      They're the ones that need to take some personal responsiblity. Holy crap.

    •  Well (6+ / 0-)

      A person's employment status is not entirely a factor of his or her choices.

      Sure, you can influence the outcome. But an individual, on his own, is not really very likely to overcome certain factors.

      Kids who grow up in poverty -- hungry, in insecure homes, surrounded by violence, with limited access to education, etc. -- are generally going to be less employable than other young people without extra help from society.

      My guess is that the 57.4% are simply more likely to have middle class or affluent parents, have grown up in diverse, integrated communities where they are less subject to racism, attended decent schools and generally had a level of security and opportunity not available to make of the 42.6%.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:11:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you live in Chicago or Detroit (5+ / 0-)

      finding a job is difficult .Many of the jobs are in the suburbs. Getting out to the suburbs in Chicago or Detroit or any city can be both costly and difficult. Even understanding the transportation in the suburban area from the city perspective is difficult. One-way train tickets from Chicago to the northwest 'burbs are not cheap - $8-10 to get out there, and that is big money if the job is minimum wage.

      So it's a matter of where you are in many cases.

    •  A shocking map from the Obama administration (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker

      Probably defense contractors at Hill AFB?

      Did someone misplace a decimal point?  Utah has the lowest black unemployment rate in the country?

      Wyoming has enough blacks to measure the unemployment rate?

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:10:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a lot of misery encoded in your link, Utah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox
        In January 2007, the year the recession began, the unemployment rate for black workers was 7.9 percent, compared to 4.2 percent for Whites and 5.8 percent for Hispanics. By January 2009, the unemployment rates had climbed to 7.1 percent for Whites, 12.7 percent for Blacks and 10.0 percent for Hispanics. By the end of 2010, the unemployment rate for Blacks had risen more than for either Whites or Hispanics.

        Unemployment for the nation peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, while the unemployment rate for Blacks continued to rise before peaking at 16.7 percent in August 2011.

        In 2007 there was only a 3.7% gap between black and white unemployment, but the recession has been murderous for black Americans, and even 16% or 17% unemployment probably understates the real situation.
    •  Thats a fucked up thing to say. (0+ / 0-)

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:21:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's wrong with (0+ / 0-)

        finding out how some are successful and others are not....or maybe we could have a bunch of people in a room in DC hypothesize what's going on....that would be so much less fucked up - huh?

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:53:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Unemployment numbers have always looked like that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, Flying Goat

    Unfortunately, this has always been true. Whatever the unemployment numbers of been from any age group of the white demographic, the same age group for the African American demographic has always been twice as high. Go look at the unemployment rates for the adults. Same thing.

    To blame the president for something that was designed into the fabric of our country over the course of many decades seems a tad unfair. It's an institutional problem that is going to take a long time to address and change. Though not completely unfair. He could, ya know, actually talk about why African Americans have always faced such high unemployment once slavery became unconstitutional (unless you're a criminal). Of course, if he did that, a whole bunch of white people would be screaming like banshees about "racial entitlements." So maybe he thinks it's just not worth it right now.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:50:21 AM PDT

  •  Obama and the Dems seem to have forgotten (5+ / 0-)

    about the economic problems that are still hurting this country. The strides we've made in gay rights are great. The courage shown against the Republican war on women is inspiring. Recent news on possible action on climate change is necessary. And of course the NSA scandal has been terrible.

    But on the economy, crickets. We have nowhere near recovered from the Great Recession. 42.6% unemployment for young black men is  a staggering statistic. Even if it was at 21%, the figure for young whites, that's still crazy. Wow. Democrats need to focus on the economy again.

    You're right to ask for action  from Obama. I'm losing faith in the ability of our government to accomplish  anything right now.

    •  The current climate (3+ / 0-)

      in washington is not in favor of jobs for Americans.

      Jobs for foreign scabs on H-1Bs, J-1, L-1, F-1, O-1, B-1, etc etc etc? Sure, the Democrats want to give out the scab slots by the hundreds of thousands. Our students pay huge money for undergrad education, and then the jobs are given out and the tax policy structured to make it easier and CHEAPER to hire foreign scabs.

      J-1? 500,000 every summer. These jobs are very attractive to American employers. Every J-1 hire means LOWER TAXES for American employers.

      •  In other words, tax breaks for shipping jobs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WorkerInUSA, SpecialKinFlag, unfangus

        overseas that Republicans swore didn't exist during the 2012 election.

        The status quo favors the rich, which includes politicians and their campaign donors. That's why they're not in a hurry to change it.

        •  Both are done (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Utahrd, Mario Sunshine

          The H-1B is a mechanism which hires a scab from India or China to come in and steal a job from an American. Often, it takes 2 H-1Bs to do the job of one American IT professional. Once the H-1B is here, the job is often prepped for outsourcing.

          But it's a more terrible problem than that. The H-1B mechanism ensures that there is an effective INFINITE flow of cheap-ass foreign scabs to come in and fill jobs. The jobs are then PERMANENTLY removed from the American job pool, and placed into the H-1B sector. No American is ever considered for these jobs.

          The illegal immigration bill increases the number of foreign scabs at the high end, both H-1B and green card. It also increases the number of jobs at the bottom end, as 11 million would then be free to take higher end jobs on the bottom of the employment scale.

          The illegal immigration bill is a disaster. Why do Democrats back it?

          Note that the illegal immigration bill is NOT an immigration bill. We already admit 1,000,000 new citizens through naturalization. That is not changed by the illegal immigration bill. This bill only increases the scab counts and legalizes criminals.

          •  You make good points, but I disagree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mario Sunshine

            You do make good points about the H1-B visa program. There is a cap on how many H1-B visas are issued every year. So, this infinite flow doesn't exist. And most of the time, the cap is hit within a month.
            I work with H1-B visa holders and they do get paid the same salaries as Americans. I don't know examples of H1-B being paid half the salaries of Americans. I don't say they don't exist, I'm saying I just don't know any.
            I do agree with you that this immigration Bill is a big scam. Unfortunately, Democrats only care about path to citizenship and the president is desperate to sign anything. And I really mean anything.  I believe they have been played by the Thugs.  

            •  You are wrong (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mario Sunshine

              There is an infinite supply of H-1bs. That is because there are more H-1Bs than there are positions. As such, the SUPPLY of H-1Bs into the future is infinite. Once a job is defined as an H-1B position, it will never be filled by Americans.

              The H1Bs, especially the Indians, are well-known to be highly racist and sexist. They will not tolerate women or blacks and will always give them very bad ratings during "interviews" which are sham in most cases anyway.

              Your comments about the H-1Bs being paid the same salaries are mostly lies. The fraud is pervasive and well-known, and clearly documented. The standard trick is to pay the "same salaries" but the salary is a RANGE, not a fixed amount. You can pay the "going rate" at the bottom end, and also require more of the H-1B. It's a huge scam.

  •  This stat is proof yet again that the economy for (6+ / 0-)

    many on the lower end of the economic pie is thinner and thinnr so there are more people unable to find jobs.  No one who wants to work should go without a job and if the private sector can't provide jobs then governments should. The private sector can't provide enough jobs because it is sitting on vast sums of capitol in an effort to punish and discredit Obama, but you see, the real victims of this insane "let's cripple the President" policy are young Black men who can't get a job.  On KOS we can take this up as a challenge:  to move this country toward jobs for all those who want to work especially young Black men who have traditionally been and are grieviously discriminated against.

  •  Supply and demand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsLillian, unfangus

    When you increase supply, you decrease demand.

    The immigration reform bill is going to destroy the employment prospects of blacks. But Obama and the democrats are lusting for the mythical Latino, and blacks are so 2010. The democrats have thrown blacks under the bus with this bill.

    The bill increases H-1B numbers and green cards. Black IT employment was going up until H-1Bs started. Since then, black IT employment is dropping, year after year.

    Every year, we bring in 500,000 J-1 foreign scabs to steal American jobs. Many of these are the jobs kids used to get in the summer. But the J-1 program has a huge attraction for employers - the employer does not pay certain taxes for J-1s.

    So, the democrats are not interested in black employment, student employment, or American citizen employment. They care only about the mythical Latino liberal, who does not exist.

    •  You are so correct workerInUsa ....... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I usually refrain from commenting on the immigration issue because so often your shouted down as "racist" and I am sick of hearing that shit.  

      You summed up the issue very nicely in my opinion.  Not only will this hurt the black male population even more, it will hurt so many American workers at most levels of employment.  

      Why? Because the democrats are soooo concerned about immigrant families?  I think not.  They just want their votes to keep them in power, I don't believe they give really give a  shit about immigrants except for their vote.

      “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of the tyrant” Albert Camus

      by MsLillian on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:02:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's what I call (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the "lust for the liberal Latino vote." It's a myth.

        The Democrats are being played by the illegals lobby. Most latinos are catholic and most are socially conservative. Many blacks are more conservative than some people realize. The black churches are not happy about gay marriage, as many know. Religious latinos are much the same.

        Why the Democrats are going for the Latino vote and totally ignoring the blacks, the students, the older voters, and the US IT/STEM voter, I have no idea. Probably because most Democrats are stupid, honestly.

  •  I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

    What does President Obama visiting Africa have to do with black unemployment in America?
    This sounds more like the Fox-News Right-Wing nonsense type argument.

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