(StraightNews.org) — The unemployment rate for black Americans is at a record low. However, it remains 1.5% higher than the general population. One factor causing the difference is the high level of criminal convictions among black men. As many as one in three black male adults currently have a criminal record.
There are groups and charity organizations dedicated to helping former prisoners re-enter the economy, but some of those affected say there is a brick wall they cannot break down. One such person is Terrence Stewart, who lives in Los Angeles. He served two years for drug offenses but immediately enrolled in college when he was released. “I started realizing how hard it was to get a job, even in simple places like McDonald’s and stuff of that nature. It was really, really starting to get complicated on how to get a job,” he said.
The latest data shows that black unemployment has fallen to 5% from 5.7% the previous month. This amounts to around 1.1 million people. In March, the economy added 236,000 jobs, bringing the overall unemployment total down from 3.5% to 3%.
Economist Paul Krugman said this is the best economy America has seen for decades regarding job availability, but inflation remains a concern. “The big question now is whether the good news on jobs is somehow a mirage, based on an unsustainably hot labor market that will have to cool off drastically to contain inflation,” he said.
Interest rates have risen over 1,700% in the past year to tame inflation. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said rates must stay high until the jobs market cools. Krugman disagreed and argued that there is no need for unemployment to rise. He warned that exaggerations surrounding inflation, and the fear of it, could keep interest rates too high for too long, sending the nation into a spiraling recession. Fellow economist Jeremy Siegel pointed to this risk last year and said inflation is overstated.
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