Last week the Biden-Harris Administration rang in the holiday season with the National Christmas Tree Lighting hosted by LL Cool J. This year the White House has a few noteworthy accomplishments to celebrate, including a decrease in unemployment insurance claims and an increase in American workers—gains that extend to Black Americans.
In a statement from the White House last week, President Joe Biden said that new unemployment claims are at a level not seen since March 7, 2020, and that claims made the last week in November were revised down to their lowest level since 1969. “In addition, the four-week average of unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since the pandemic began—just 225,500. Initial unemployment claims are now down more than 70 percent since I became President, and total claims filed each week are now down by around 16 million over that same period,” the president added.
History has proven that low unemployment rates for the country, do not always mean the same for Black workers, but according to Marketwatch, unemployment rates for Black and white Americans are now reflective of levels in late 2018. Last month, the jobless rate for Black Americans reportedly dropped by 1.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent. And according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate for Black women fell two percentage points in November, from 7 percent at the start of the month to 5 percent at the month’s close.
While the administration is crediting their COVID strategy for the strong numbers, they are continuing to push for the passage of the Build Back Better agenda. “There is still more work to do to build our economy back better including addressing recent increases in prices,” Biden wrote. “In addition to recent steps I have taken to address supply chain bottle necks and reduce the price of gas at the pump, the historic Build Back Better Act will cut costs that American families have struggled with for years. Today’s data underscore the historic progress we are making and the importance of building on that progress in the weeks ahead.”
The Vice President previously spoke to EBONY about how investments in childcare, affordable high-speed internet, and transportation could help close the wage and unemployment gaps for Black communities.