Unfortunately for too many Americans, Labor Day isn’t just a national holiday we celebrate once a year. For them, it’s a holiday celebrated day after day after day. Just in case you haven’t been following the news, the unemployment rate increased to 9.6 percent by the end of August. The private-sector only added about 67,000 jobs…for all you “let the free-market rule” people. The situation continues to be dire.
As a black man, what alarmed me most was the steady and – in many cases – rising unemployment for black folks. Specifically, unemployment for black Americans has risen to 16.3 percent, up 0.7% from last month. For black men, unemployment rose by 0.6% to 17.3%. For black women, unemployment was only up 0.3%, but is still at 13.2%. For black youth, my jaw completely dropped. The unemployment rate for black youth is at a staggering 45.4%.
As we approach the midterm elections, these frightening figures add additional question marks to President Obama’s efforts through the so-called “Summer of Recovery.” I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam on just about every highway in Michigan this summer due to construction (which I thought was supposed to be a good thing), but the job output simply isn’t lining up. This can’t be good news for the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress headed into November.
What’s even worse is the extremely short-memory of the average American voter. I can almost predict that they will put the same party who oversaw the economic collapse back in power. Now, I’m not very thrilled with what the Dems have been doing so far to curb the rising unemployment (a costly and futile stimulus package, wasted money, not focusing on the economy from Day One). But I’m not angry enough at them to put Republicans back in power. I liken that kind of foolishness to curing a painful hangnail by cutting off your finger with a hacksaw.
Despite the numbers, the White House is still pretty optimistic. But as they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” And unfortunately for this administration, the numbers don’t mirror the same optimism they are currently exuding. People are getting restless…and rightly so, when it gets to the point that Labor Day is just one more day they’re not at work. If this carries on, expect to see the Congressional Halls and the Oval Office to go through some major reconstruction of its own.