The unemployment situation across America is bad, no doubt. But for African-Americans in some cities, this is not the great recession. It’s the Great Depression.
Take Charlotte, N.C., for example. It is a jewel of the “new South.” The largest financial center outside of New York City, it’s the showcase for next year’s Democratic National Convention. It was a land of hope and opportunity for many blacks with a four-year college degree or higher.
According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 19.2 percent. If you add in people who have given up looking for jobs, that number exceeds 20 percent, which, according to economists Algernon Austin and William Darity, has effectively mired blacks in a depression.
The Congressional Black Caucus has been leaning on President Obama to address the epidemic of black unemployment on his watch. So far, the president has resisted the notion of job programs specifically targeting African-Americans. His position is that a rising tide will lift all boats. But the tide remains out as far as job creation goes.