Under Obama, black unemployment back to twice the white rate

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Jobs,Martin Luther King,Race and Diversity

Black unemployment, which at the end of the Bush administration broke a decades-long pattern of being twice white unemployment, has resumed its disturbing and prolonged trend under President Obama, with the rate among African Americans now at 13.4 percent, according to a new Pew Research report.

In a report timed for release on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Dream" speech, Pew said on Thursday: "Much has changed for African-Americans since the 1963 March on Washington (which, recall, was a march for 'Jobs and Freedom'), 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."

The trend broke at the end of former President George W. Bush's administration as the recession hit whites more, temporarily boosting their unemployment rate.

But as the recession has eased, whites have picked up more jobs. Currently, Pew said white unemployment is 6.7 percent, exactly half the black rate.

The trend has history on its side. Pew said that going back to 1954, the earliest year in which the Bureau of Labor Statistics studied the data, the white rate was 5 percent and the black rate 9.9 percent.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.