Donald Trump has been caught with his pants down once again. Days after Trump bragged that black employment rate is at its best ever and that “unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low” due to his policies, statistics now say otherwise.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, revealed the black unemployment rate went up to 7.7 percent in January from 6.8 percent a month earlier. The 0.9 percent difference is, in fact, the worst single-month increase recorded in years.
Trump was actually correct, number-wise, when he said the 6.8 percent unemployment rate among African-Americans recorded in December 2017 was the lowest since 1972, the year the agency started providing employment data with regards to race. However, the unemployment rate suddenly went up after his boasting.
Trump has been babbling on and on about how he is responsible for the improved unemployment rate among African-Americans. In fact, he tried to engage Jay-Z in a word war after the rapper and business mogul criticized Trump in an interview with Van Jones on Saturday, as reported by CNN.
Jay-Z was asked by Jones about black employment, particularly if it was okay for Trump “to say terrible things but put money in our pockets.” Jay-Z said that Trump sees it wrong if he thinks money is everything that is important. He said that the main point is how people treat other people.
“It goes back to the whole thing – ‘treat me really bad and pay me well.’ It’s not going to lead to happiness. It’s not going to lead to, again, the same thing. Everyone’s going to be sick,” Jay-Z said.
Trump: African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.— Vox (@voxdotcom) January 31, 2018
Fact-check: The black unemployment rate started dropping around 2011 — long before Trump took office. https://t.co/c1MyHdQpM9 #SOTU pic.twitter.com/LK2ZFLrQH6
“Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Trump reiterated his claims at his State of the Union address on Tuesday when he said African-American unemployment “stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.” He also said Hispanic-American unemployment has also improved and that it has “reached the lowest levels in history.”
Fact Check: President Trump's comments on black employment— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 31, 2018
Another issue with Trump’s claims, aside from the black unemployment figure suddenly rising, is that he can’t simply pat himself on the back for the supposed accomplishment.
Black employment has been steadily improving even before he sat in office. According to Fortune, the African-American unemployment rate was at 16.8 percent in March 2010 and improved by nine points before Trump became the 45th president of the United States. As Fortune put it, Trump simply continued a trend “that had already been in place.”
The same can be said with the employment rate among Hispanics. The unemployment rate improved from 12.9 percent in March 2010 to 4.9 percent in December last year. Both Hispanic and black unemployment rate improved by a mere one point in Trump’s first year in office.
According to scholars, there are three major factors contributing to low employment rate among African-Americans – “hiring discrimination, lower educational attainment, and higher rate of people with criminal records,” as reported by CNN Money.