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Across various presidencies and encompassing all available unemployment records, President Joe Biden has reached a significant achievement in historical terms with the Black Unemployment Rate. Throughout his time in office, the average unemployment rate for Black Americans stands at an extraordinary and unprecedented low of 6.83%, a figure that stands as the most minimal among all former U.S. Presidents.

For comparison, during the final month of Donald Trump’s administration, the Black unemployment rate was 9.2%, with an average of around 7.8% throughout his tenure. 

Average Black Unemployment Rates Under US Presidents 

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961): Average – 9.7%

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): Average – 10.3%

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969): Average – 8.6%

Richard Nixon (1969-1974): Average – 8.9%

Gerald Ford (1974-1977): Average – 14.2%

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): Average – 13.0%

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): Average – 15.3%

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993): Average – 12.8%

Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Average – 8.9%

George W. Bush (2001-2009): Average – 9.8%

Barack Obama (2009-2017): Average – 11.7%

Donald Trump (2017-2021): Average – 7.8%

Joe Biden (2021-2023): Average – 6.8% 

Context for higher Black Unemployment during the Obama Years.

When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States was in the midst of the Great Recession, which was triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-2008. This recession led to a sharp increase in the unemployment rate across the board, including among Black Americans.

Moreovre, the recession hit industries that employed a significant number of black workers, such as construction and manufacturing, particularly hard. Job losses in these industries contributed to higher rates among Black Americans.

While Black unemployment was higher during the early years of Obama’s presidency, it’s also important to note that the overall rate, including for Black Americans, improved over the course of his two terms. By the end of his presidency, the unemployment rate for Black Americans had significantly decreased compared to the peak of the recession. Hence, Barack Obama’s average was 7.5% for Black Americans on his last month in office in January 2017, lower than Trump’s average tenure for Black unemployment.

Collectively, both Obama’s final month and and Biden’s average stand at 7.15% for Black unemployment in comparison to Trump’s 7.8% tenure.

Black Unemployment Rate
President Joe Biden signs the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Bidenomics is working for the Black middle-class

Biden’s unemployment average for the African American community is a sign that Bidenomics is currently delivering on its promise. Moreover, this notable drop under President Biden’s leadership indicates a concerted effort to tackle the root causes of racial inequality in employment, aiming for a fairer and more inclusive job market. 

Over the course of his presidency, the Black unemployment rate has plummeted to an unprecedented low, averaging at a mere 6.83%, the lowest recorded being in April 2023 at 4.7%, according to the White House and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  

Biden’s unemployment rate for Black Americans stands as a testament to the Biden-Harris Administration’s dedication to addressing the systemic inequalities within the job market. By consistently outperforming all former U.S. Presidents in this aspect, President Biden’s efforts signal a significant stride toward a fairer and more equitable employment landscape for a community that has systemically been underresorced. 

For those seeking to delve deeper into the statistics and context surrounding the Black unemployment rate in the United States, additional information can be found through reputable sources such as the BLS or the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...

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