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Chicago Urban League Releases Statement on December Jobs Report


Jan. 8, 2016


Chelsea Whittington, External Affairs Manager

773-451-3524 (office)

Chicago Urban League Statement on December Jobs Report:

“Youth Employment Key to Increasing Numbers”


The Chicago Urban League’s Workforce Development Director Andrew Wells has issued the following statement in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) December 2015 jobs report.

“The December 2015 national jobs report of 292,000 new jobs and a steady unemployment rate of 5 percent are likely to be viewed as positive news for the economy. However, the numbers for African Americans in Chicago tell a vastly different story.

The African-American unemployment rate in Chicago reached an astounding 18.5 percent in October 2015, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Today’s BLS report indicates that the unemployment rate in the age group 16-19 for whites is 14.9 percent, Latinos 16.5 percent and blacks 23.7 percent. This disparity easily translates to reflect the high unemployment rate for black youth in Chicago.

Unemployment for African-American youth has been considerably higher over the past few years. Cross-cultural comparisons consistently affirm the inequality that exists between young African-Americans and their Latino and white counterparts.  It’s one of the country’s major socio-economic challenges and it will take effective policy interventions to ensure that those who are willing and able to work have both opportunity and access to securing employment.

Expanding sustainable employment is key to economic stability for Chicago’s African American communities and the city as a whole.  Additionally, engagement and investments from the private sector are essential to building Chicago’s future workforce and providing job opportunities for young people.

On January 25th, the Chicago Urban League will participate in a special hearing on the Illinois Summer Youth Employment Program. Public officials, non-profit organizations, local businesses and youth from our community will testify on the importance of funding programs that employ Chicago’s youth.

This dialogue, followed by legislative action and corporate investment, will be critical as we work to reduce the unemployment rate among young African Americans in Chicago.”


About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.