Unemployment Number at 4 Year Low and Obama Smiles

unemployment rate down under obamaIn January 2008 there were 627,000 Americans applying for unemployment benefits on a weekly basis. The country was on the verge of a crash and economy was collapsing. Major industries in the country were bankrupted. The banking industry and Wall Street were losing billions of dollars a day, the unemployment rate was at double digits, and no one had an answer or a solution to this crisis.


It is now 2013, and President Obama has been in office for 4 years as the first Black president. The unemployment rate is at a 4 year low, businesses are hiring, and the economy is improving. In the last week Wall Street has broken records and is experiencing its highest and best numbers ever. The real estate market is beginning to grow again and the values of homes are slowly increasing, even after a major crash.

 At the start of the year, Republicans were predicting doom and gloom, telling Americans

obama smile

that the economy would slow down in 2013. Some Republicans were predicting another recession because of the sequester cuts and the tax increases that wealthy Americans were forced to pay.

But the Republicans were wrong again, and employers added a solid 165,000 jobs in April, and lowered the unemployment rate 0.4% to 7.5%. This was a stronger unemployment rate than the economist had predicted for April, and President Obama is smiling. President Obama understands that the economy has created an average 208,000 jobs a month from November 2012 through April 2013, well above the monthly average of 138,000 for the previous six months.

“Businesses haven’t lost confidence yet,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University. “Consumers are feeling better. The decent employment gains will add to the optimism and help lift future spending.”

Even though there is cause for optimism here, we can’t get overconfident with this economy. Without a doubt the economy is moving in the right direction but it is still vulnerable to major economic hiccups or any international banking crashes. Whatever happens in the world impacts our country because we are part of the global village. None of us is an island.

The last time unemployment was lower than it is now was in December 2008, when it was 7.3%. But even as the Obama administration slaps one another on the back, they know the unemployment number is still too high. There are still millions of Americans out of work and they will have to be re-trained in the new technology economy.

The biggest job gains in the country were in lower paying jobs and many Americans are underemployed, having to work two jobs, and many have just dropped out of the market. Still, consumers are spending more money even though their take-home pay has shrunk this year. Prices continue to rise and a dollar does not go as far as it use to go. Times are hard in the African American community and there is still a recession.

Economists paint a rosy picture but jobs in our community are few and 50% of Black men are unemployed. The men and the youth in our community are not prepared for this new technology job market and there is a need for more educational centers that focus on these two groups.

President Obama is smiling, as he should, because his policies are working and long term unemployed has dropped from a peak of 6.7 million in 2010 to 4.4 million in 2013. But the president is not resting because his goal is to get the unemployment number around 6%, and he knows that he has a long way to go.      

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