In a recent survey taken by Your Black World, 38.3 percent of African American respondents said that they’ve lost their job at some point during the last three years. This number is higher than the current black unemployment rate of 16.1 percent because most of those who lost their jobs were able to find another position. But of those who were able to find another job, 88.5 percent of the respondents were unable to find another position of equal or higher pay.
The survey had 839 respondents (slightly smaller than the typical CNN poll of slightly over 1,000, which is used to sample a population that is ten times larger). The three-year period was chosen to coincide with the start of the latest economic downturn. Roughly 62.7 percent of the respondents were female, and the rest were male. Additionally, two-thirds (67 percent) were college educated.
When asked if Washington politicians are doing enough to address black unemployment levels in America, 95.2 percent of the respondents said no. When asked if the black unemployment situation would affect their voting in the next presidential election, 51.3 percent said that it would, while 48.8 percent of respondents said that it would not.
We took the survey here at Your Black World to get a sense of the economic climate within the African American community. The Your Black World audience tends to be older and more educated than the general population, but the mere notion that nearly 40 percent of the respondents have lost a job in the last three years is nothing short of mind-boggling. Additionally, the poll results are indicative of general downward mobility of the African American community, given that most of those who lost their jobs were unable to find equivalent employment.
The survey also shows that the deep and consistent economic depression within the African American community affects millions of Americans at all socio-economic levels, creating a situation that must be addressed through some degree of assertive political action. Even in Prince Georges County, the wealthiest black county in America, foreclosure rates continue to skyrocket. Rather than focusing our collective energy on one particular person in Washington, nearly every Washington politician must be accurately assessed to determine what they are doing to help alleviate the situation.
Given that African Americans also pay taxes and other constituents have received financial support from the federal government, some would argue it to be imperative that we expect equal support from the federal government. Additionally, initiatives to support black business and fight employment discrimination in the workplace (nearly 90% of our respondents say they’ve experienced workplace racial discrimination) would serve to fix the black unemployment problem. The time for progressive change is now, and it can’t be delayed any longer. Something simply must be done.