Report: Tough economy hits minorities harder

(WMC-TV) - According to the National Urban League's Annual State of Black America report, while the economy is wreaking havoc on all communities, the results are far more devastating in communities of color.

The annual report says African Americans continue to trail whites in median income.  The African American unemployment rate has also been consistently almost twice as high as that of whites.

"We do have a lot of people looking for jobs," said Memphis Urban League President and CEO Tomeka Hart.  "Last year, we had come down in the door about 600 people.  We found jobs for 92 of them.  It's a very tough economy."

With recent data showing Memphis as the poorest city in the country, Hart said Memphis definitely needs solutions to get the local economy back on track.

"We need a vision and we need a plan for wealth creation on this community," she said.

Hart said that plan should also include improving education.

"We're the poorest," said Hart.  "One in five, one in six lives in poverty.  That's a manifestation of the under education of many adults.  We have an education system that's seen its challenges over the years, and so we have a lot of work to do in connecting our education to our workforce development."

Hart also wants to create more opportunities for minority-owned businesses.

"Our economy depends on us developing and strengthening our minority- and women-owned enterprises," said Hart.

The National Urban Leagues State of Black America Report is an annual publication now in its 35th year.

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