As she watched President Barack Obama lay out his jobs plan for the nation and repeatedly challenge Congress to address the issue immediately, Madelyn Broadus was thinking “finally, somebody is for the people.”
“It seems like for the past 12 years, (the government) is always for corporations and big fat cats. I really feel like he said it right for how we can begin again, the hard-working American people,” explained Broadus, one of the 14 million unemployed people that the president was speaking of during his speech.
A sheet metal worker who specializes in installing heating and air conditioning in commercial and industrial buildings, Broadus has not worked a job since November 2009.
“I went to a five-year apprentice program, and when I was about to come out that’s when the construction industry went flat,” said Broadus, who has existed on unemployment since her last job.
Broadus is not alone as she struggles through long-term unemployment; nor is her situation unique . . . in the Black community.
In fact, a look at employment numbers back to when the United States Department of Labor (DOL) first began segmenting out statistics by race (1972), yields the data that shows the Black unemployment rate has consistently been at least double the national average. In 1982 and 1983, for example, Black unemployment ranged from 17 to 21 percent, while the national rate for that same period ranged from 8.6 to 10.8 percent.
And these numbers, just as today’s 16.7 percent rate for Blacks probably understated the number of jobless, believes sociologist Michael Hodge, Ph.D. He said the numbers do not count those who have just stopped looking.
SOURCE: North Dallas Gazette