Unemployment of 8.3% is unacceptably high, no matter when and for whom

Unemployment in January was 8.3 percent, which is widely, and correctly, assessed to be unacceptably high. I agree. It should be noted that the unemployment rate for blacks in 2007 was the very same 8.3 percent, which barely registered much attention at all. That was at a time when the national unemployment rate was 4.6 percent and white unemployment was 4.1 percent. Well, the 8.3 percent for blacks in 2007 was also an unacceptable outcome. That’s why my colleague Algernon Austin organized an event, held yesterday at EPI: “Hit hard by the recession, left behind in the recovery: Achieving full employment for black workers.” Austin also wrote a new paper highlighting the currently very high unemployment among blacks and Hispanics, No relief in 2012 from high unemployment for African Americans and Latinos.