The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the national unemployment rate increased to 10.2 percent, the highest since 1983. More than 190,000 Americans lost their jobs in October.
The official black unemployment rate is 15.7 percent. On Election Day 2008, the black unemployment rate was 11.3 percent.
President Barack Obama addressed the rising unemployment during remarks in the Rose Garden:
Although we lost fewer jobs than we did last month, our unemployment rate climbed to over 10 percent -- a sobering number that underscores the economic challenges that lie ahead.
When we first came into office our immediate goal was to stop the freefall that caused our economy to shrink at an alarming rate. We have succeeded in achieving that goal, as our economy grew last quarter for the first time in a year. But history tells us that job growth always lags behind economic growth, which is why we have to continue to pursue measures that will create new jobs. And I can promise you that I won't let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work and until all Americans can earn enough to raise their families and keep their businesses open.
That’s welcome news.
My colleague George Curry told the Final Call:
While his election should be celebrated, we cannot abandon our role of holding whoever sits in that office accountable. Basically Blacks remained silent, hoping that Obama would get around to us, and that's not the way politics work.
People react to voices, and just as he get nudges from women and gay groups and everybody else, he needs a kick in the butt from the African American community, because our needs must be addressed as well.
Indeed, Obama says he wants to be held accountable. The President needs to hear from black leaders and organizations that purport to represent the interests of African American families, including “Cousin Pookie.”
It’s not about second-guessing. Instead, it’s about speaking truth to power. And the truth is, the stimulus package has not reduced black unemployment.