Are blacks worse off under Obama, like Trump says?


President Barack Obama

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Donald Trump has been repeatedly called a racist by protesters at his rallies. But the Republican frontrunner says he’d “do a great job” for blacks, much better than America’s first black president, Barack Obama.

“58% and even 59% of African-American youth has no job. African-Americans in their prime — 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old — they are way, way behind, Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer earlier this week. “We have an African-American president and what he’s done for African-Americans is a shame.”

There’s no question blacks suffered during the Great Recession and the subsequent slow recovery. Blacks and Hispanics lost a large share of their wealth during this period because more of their net worth is tied up in housing. In addition, they continue to face similar wage stagnation and income pressures as other Americans.

But have blacks done so much worse under Obama? CNNMoney took a look.

The unemployment rate for black teens, as well as for blacks age 16 to 24, has dropped by more than half from its high point during the Obama administration.

During the depths of the crisis, the unemployment rate for black teens spiked to as high as 48.9% in September 2010. For those age 16 to 24, the jobless rate jumped up to 32.5% in January 2010.

Both rates have since recovered — along with the rest of the job market — to 23.3% for teens and 14.5% for those age 16 to 24, as of February.

Trump’s “58% and even 59%” figure for African-American youth unemployment is likely extrapolated from the employment-to-population ratio, which shows that 42.4% of blacks ages 16 to 24 had a job in February. But that doesn’t mean that the rest — or 57.6% — were unemployed. To be considered unemployed, one has to be looking for a job. Those in school or not looking for work are not included.

At 8.8% in February, the share of jobless black Americans is the lowest its been since April 2008. While the unemployment rate for blacks is still higher than it is for whites, it’s far lower than the 17.3% rate reported in January 2010.

Blacks have seen their median income stagnate, along with the rest of the population.

Median income stood at $35,398 in 2014, just a touch below where it was in 2009, when Obama took office. But it has climbed back from $33,926 in 2011.

Poverty among blacks remains elevated, though its down from its high in recent years.

The Great Recession sent many Americans into poverty, but blacks were hit particularly hard. The rate for blacks hit 27.6% in 2011, nearly 2 percentage points higher than what it was when Obama was sworn in. It has since receded to 26.2%.

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