The black unemployment rate under President Barack Obama has remained at twice the rate of white unemployment as it has been for the last 60 years, according to a new Pew Research Center report
In the report, timed for the release on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, the Pew center said Thursday in a statement, "Much has changed for African-Americans since the 1963 March on Washington, but one thing hasn't: The unemployment rate among blacks is about double that among whites, as it has been for most of the past six decades."
That decades-long pattern was briefly broken, however, at the end of former President George W. Bush's administration as the recession hit whites harder, temporarily boosting their unemployment rate, according to Pew. In the summer of 2009, shortly after Obama took office, the jobless rate among blacks "was only 1.67 times higher" than that of Whites, the Pew report noted.
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But last month, the jobless rate among whites was 6.6 percent, while it stood at 12.6 percent among blacks.
The Pew center said that in 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, the white unemployment rate averaged 5 percent and black unemployment averaged 9.9 percent.
One common explanation for the persistent disparity, as William A. Darity Jr. of Duke University told Salon in 2011
, is that blacks are "the last to be hired in a good economy, and when there’s a downturn, they’re the first to be released."
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