A new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “was responsible for 2.2 to 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010.”
In a statement, Vice President Joe Biden said:
Bolstering the purchasing power of middle class families through Recovery Act tax relief and financial assistance hasn’t just helped the hardest-hit among us – it’s also created over 1 million good American jobs. From tax cuts to construction projects, the Recovery Act is firing on all cylinders when it comes to creating jobs and putting Americans back to work.
When the Recovery Act was signed, the black male unemployment rate was 17.9 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the jobless rate for black men was 20.2 percent in March.
An investigation by City Limits looked at the impact of stimulus spending on reducing black unemployment. Prof. C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network, told the magazine:
I don’t think there was enough understanding of what was going on in communities of color. I don’t think that happened on the first go-round. In the first stimulus bill they targeted construction, infrastructure. If you looked, you saw right away that blacks were underrepresented in those industries. And black- and Latino-owned firms have received disproportionately small shares of stimulus work.Mason added:
I don’t think we can cut the unemployment rate in half without addressing some of the structural, historical barriers. There’s just no way around it. We really just have to roll up our sleeves and say, “What is going on here that’s different than the general population?” It’s not just that people aren’t building houses anymore. It’s a longer, more insidious problem that we haven’t had the opportunity to address. Maybe now we do.
Tonight at 6 p.m., City Limits and Medgar Evers College Male Development & Empowerment Center are sponsoring a town hall forum on black male joblessness.
The discussion will focus on the challenges and, more important, the solutions. The forum will be held at Medgar Evers College, 1650 Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn.
For info, send an email to: [email protected]