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Saturday, January 20, 2018
NewsBusters Blogger Gives Trump Credit for Black Unemployment Trend Started Under Obama
Topic: NewsBusters

We've noted how NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer is loath to give President Obama credit for creating the economy whose coattails President Trump is currently riding. He does so again in a Jan. 12 post:

The seasonally adjusted black unemployment rate in December was 6.8 percent, the first time that rate has ever fallen below 7 percent. A look at the monthly detail for all 46 years of available data shows that the previous lows were 7.0 percent, seen in both April 2000 and September 2017.

No other month during 1999 or 2000, the last time black unemployment dipped to historically low levels, came in under 7.3 percent. Almost no one knows that 2017 contains four of the five lowest reported monthly black unemployment rates on record: June's 7.1 percent, September's 7.0 percent, November's 7.2 percent, and December's 6.8 percent.

Digging further, December's raw unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (before seasonal adjustments) is by far the lowest December on record. The previous December low was 6.9 percent in 2000.

It's hard to imagine that the Big Three networks would have failed to report this remarkable story if it had occurred during Barack Obama's presidency.

Blumer fails to acknowledge, however, that most of that did happen under Obama. As the graph of seasonally adjusted black unemployment that illustrates Blumer's post illustrates, black unemployment has been on a steady downward trend since 2012.

Nevertheless, Blumer continued ranting:

The black unemployment rate in January 2009, the surveys for which were conducted a week before his inauguration, was 12.7 percent. Despite trillions of dollars of so-called stimulus from record federal budget deficits and over $4 trillion in unprecedented "money-from-nothing" quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, the black unemployment rate at first just kept on rising, peaking at 16.8 percent in March 2010. It didn't move permanently below 15 percent until early 2012, didn't stay below the 12.7 percent Obama "inherited" until November 2013, and didn't get below 11.3 percent, the previous decade's pre-recession peak, until September 2014, almost seven years after Obama he was inaugurated. By that time, white unemployment was only 5.1 percent. That's a lot of suffering.

Blumer doesn't mention it despite his inclusion of another graph partially illustrating the fact, but black employment has always been roughly twice as high as white unemployment, and that gap typically increases in times of recession, which the first part of the Obama presidency inarguably was. Yet Blumer just can't credit Obama for the drop in black unemployment in the last half of his presidency.

As before with the economic numbers, Blumer cites no specific policy that has earned Trump the right to take credit for the current low in black unemployment.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EST

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