Political News

Trump touts decline in African-American unemployment rate

Posted January 10, 2018 2:33 p.m. EST

— President Donald Trump claimed responsibility Wednesday for the declining African-American unemployment rate, recalling his campaign trail promise that he would be good for minority voters.

"I am very proud of this: African-American unemployment reached its lowest level in history. Think of that," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting. "And on the campaign trail, remember, I said, and would constantly say, 'What do you have to lose?' Meaning what do you have to lose if you vote for Trump."

He added: "And now it was just reported African-American unemployment was at its lowest level in history. I am very proud of that."

In a push to African-American voters during the 2016 campaign, Trump regularly asked a direct question: "What the hell do you have to lose?"

"You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed -- what the hell do you have to lose?" Trump asked during an August speech in Michigan.

During the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the support of 89% of black voters compared with 8% for Trump.

According to jobless numbers from the Labor Department, African-American unemployment is at its lowest point on record, yet it's still well above the jobless rate for whites, Hispanics or Asian-Americans.

The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 6.8% in December, the lowest level since at least 1972, when the Labor Department began tracking the figure. White unemployment was 3.7% in December, Asian-American unemployment was 2.5% and Hispanic joblessness was 4.9%.

Trump has made touting strong economic news a regular occurrence and looks poised to make economic growth a key aspect of his pitch to voters during the 2018 midterm elections.

Even with the shrinking unemployment number, incomes for African-Americans still trail those of whites. Median weekly earnings for African-Americans last fall were $696, compared with $887 for whites and $1,010 for Asian-Americans.