President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will do little to improve the unemployment rates of underrepresented minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, in this country, says a new report conducted by researchers at New York University’s Graduate School of Public Service.
According to the research conducted by the Women of Color Policy Network research center at NYU, the Recovery and Reinvestment Act will miss many Blacks and Hispanics due to their disproportionately high unemployment rates.
The unemployment rate for Black and Hispanics currently sits at 12.9 percent, NYU researchers say, which is significantly higher than the national average of 8.9 percent.
The aim of the $787 billion Act is to strengthen the nation’s economy, rebuild national infrastructure, provide direct support to individuals in need, and most importantly spur job creation. But even with the creation and maintenance of more than 3.5 million jobs, only about 900,000 will go to African-Americans and Hispanics, while even fewer will go to women of color, the report found.
Of the jobs created or saved, Black and Hispanic women will receive an estimated 420,991. White women, however, will obtain more than 1 million jobs though Obama’s recovery act.
“During this time of great economic need and stress, it is important to consider the most vulnerable in our society. To ensure that everyone recovers successfully, the Obama administration will need to dedicate significant and additional resources to communities hit hardest and those with the least safety nets,” said Dr. C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU, in a press release.
Historically, racial and ethnic minorities have always been on the margins of the U.S. economy and labor markets, the report insists. Minorities have, traditionally, earned less in wages, possessed fewer assets and experienced higher unemployment rates. In 2007, 24.5 percent of African-Americans and 21.5 percent of Hispanics were poor compared to 8.2 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.
The Women of Color Policy Network offers a series of policy recommendations for the current administration, among them the suggestion that legislators create and enforce policies and legislation to counter racial and gender discrimination in the labor market, support early links to the labor market and educational opportunities for minority youth, and target additional financial resources to decrease the unemployment rate among racial and ethnic minorities in severely impoverished cities.
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