Unemployment among Black Pennsylvanians down 65% since Biden was sworn in - TAI News
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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris smile to supporters at a campaign event at Girard College, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made a joint appearance at Girard College in Philadelphia on May 29 to launch their campaign’s reelection program targeted to Black voters.

In his remarks, Biden touted economic improvements in the Black community since 2021.

“Black small businesses are starting up at a faster rate in 30 years because of what we’ve done. The racial wealth gap is the lowest it’s been in 20 years because of our efforts,” Biden told supporters. “The bottom line is we’ve invested more in Black America than any previous administration in history has.” 

Biden noted that his administration has integrated racial equity and justice in a wide array of his administration’s policies and has appointed a record number of Black nominees to the federal judiciary, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the court.

The event followed the recent release of data that shows the unemployment rate for Black residents of Pennsylvania has fallen more than 65% since President Joe Biden was sworn into office in January 2021.

According to data compiled by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, the Black unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 5.7% in the first quarter of 2024. In the final quarter of 2020, before Biden took office, the rate was 16.5%. In the last two quarters of that year, Pennsylvania had the highest Black unemployment rate in the entire United States.

The overall unemployment rate in the state has experienced a similar decline over the last four years, falling from 7% at the end of 2024 to the current rate of 3.4% in April.

When former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.5%, and the Black unemployment rate was 10.5%. Trump’s time in office was marked by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, after which the national unemployment rate reached a high of 14.8% in April 2020. It is currently 3.9%.

The Biden-Harris campaign’s stated openness to courting Black voters stands in stark contrast to Trump’s attitude towards the same community. Trump has a history of making racist statements that goes back long before he took office: In 1989, for example, he placed ads in New York newspapers calling for the reinstitution of the death penalty after the arrest of the Central Park Five, five teenagers who were charged in the rape and beating of a jogger in New York’s Central Park. The five were exonerated after serving prison time. Trump also notably referred to white supremacists who participated in a right-wing rally against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people.”

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