Unemployment Not So Black-and-White

Last Tuesday, the National Urban League announced the release of a report titled “The State of Black America 2007,” which includes the 2007 version of the “Equality Index.” The Equality Index measures various economic disparities between blacks and whites.

The report, of course, received a significant amount of media attention, the majority of it focusing on the report’s conclusion that “glaring gaps continue to exist between black and white Americans.” But what the media has failed to report is that the black unemployment rate is currently at a lower level than it was throughout the boom years of Clinton’s second term, and has improved tremendously since Bush’s so-called “tax cuts for the wealthy” in 2003.

Throughout Clinton’s second term (1997-2000), black unemployment averaged 8.6%, a bit higher than today’s rate of 8.3%. More significant, however, is that black unemployment has dropped a whopping 2.7 points since Bush’s May 2003 tax cuts.

Work remains to be done, but the implementation of the Bush Administration’s economic policies has helped to dramatically narrow the economic gap between black and white Americans. Why isn’t that the story?

The bottom line: The Bush tax cuts have been very good for black employment, and that deserves attention.