Tuesday, September 28, 2010

African American Unemployment In Milwaukee: Slowly Getting Better

One of the things that Tim John did in his pre-primary run for the Democratic nomination for governor was bring up the important issue of the high unemployment rate of African Americans in Milwaukee's inner city, which is currently sitting at around 34%.

Some of Walker's supporters, like Tom McMahon, have been trying to hammer away at that in effort to derail Barrett's campaign.

And they do have a point. Thirty-four percent unemployment is too high, even in this slowly recovering economy.

But like most of Team Walker's attacking points, this actually has Barrett coming out looking pretty good and Walker even worse.

This unemployment rate number could be a lot worse, as it was just two years ago.

In 2007, the unemployment rate for African American men in the inner city was officially at 51.1%, buy many believe the number was actually closer to 55-60%.

So during the worst economic times seen since the Great Depression, what caused the unemployment rate for African American men to drop by at least a third, maybe up to half?

The answer is simple.

Until 2007, the Private Industry Council, a federally-funded workforce development program aimed to help poor people, was under the auspices of Scott Walker and Milwaukee County. But after years of poor results and many complaints about the dysfunctional quality of PIC, Governor Doyle took the program away from Milwaukee County and Scott Walker and gave it to the City of Milwaukee and its mayor, Tom Barrett.

Barrett, who already had a good reputation for getting people back to work, in horrible economic times, was able to drop the number by a third, maybe more, in just two years.

In other words, Barrett has a proven record of bringing jobs to the area and getting people back to work, even in adverse economic times. Walker, in contrast, has shown himself to be able to do this when the economy was doing better.

Just another reason why Tom Barrett would make a much, much better governor.

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