During his State of the Union address this week, President Donald Trump hailed the African American unemployment rate as a sign of economic progress. Here’s the reality:
- The black unemployment rate rose to 7.7% in January, while the overall rate remained at 4.1%.
- While Trump’s friends may be enjoying continued wealth, working people—especially people of color—are being left behind.
- As the AFL-CIO’s chief economist William Spriggs said, “When you look at these unemployment gaps and these earnings gaps, blacks have to have more education to make the same amount of money or get the same unemployment rate of whites who are less educated.”
That’s why the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice has gone on the road and talked with more than 15,000 union members about how racism and other forms of discrimination have been used to divide and weaken working people.
As the AFL-CIO celebrates Black History and Workers Month, we recognize the harsh realities facing African American workers year round. From systemic racism and unemployment to disproportionate harm from bad trade deals, African American workers are fighting against constant economic headwinds.
Yesterday, the AFL-CIO took part in a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the lives of Echol Cole and Robert Walker. Their tragic deaths drove fellow Memphis sanitation workers to stand up and declare a strike. Today, we are continuing that fight for workplace justice.