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Unemployment Rates for African American Teens Turn Upward

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 11 Mar 2013 05:18pm | comments
Hundreds of teens and young adults showed up at the Metro Center Mall in Jackson for the Mayors summer job expo. Monday. March 11, 2013

The teen unemployment rate among African Americans rose to 43 percent in February. That's according to a recent study by the U.S. Labor Department.  And as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports while African American Teens in Mississippi are also feeling the effects, there's one program offering a glimmer of hope.

About 3,000 teens and young adults showed up at the Metro Center Mall in Jackson for the Mayors summer job expo. One of them was 16 year old Martianna Cameron. The Murrah High School sophomore  says she's been looking for work since last November but all she's come up with so far are rejections.

"It's very difficult because with the youth most of us don't drive or we have to have people to come pick us up, drop us off. And with like the grown people that are also trying to get the same jobs we are they are more responsible. So it's hard on us trying to get jobs."

The city of Jackson is trying to help young people get a jump on finding summer employment. Yesterday more than fifty local businesses were on hand to discuss job opportunities.  Louis Armstrong is with the city's family and youth division. He highlights the need for summer jobs programs in Mississippi.

"The growing prison population, the 43% unemployment is unacceptable and should be unacceptable to everyone in this country.  But for those of us  who see the negative impact of unemployment and discrimination we continue to have a passion to fight and will continue to do so."

Beneta Burk works through the Kellogg Foundation to end health disparities in the state. She says her organization plans to tap at least ten young people for summer jobs this year.

"And all of these summer jobs are really just prerequisites to adulthood. And so you have to go through it or else you won’t be able to manage it as an adult. So all of the things that young people do doing the course of the summer, if they are in productive activities everybody wins."

Labor officials report that for years the black teen unemployment rate has been roughly double that of white teens. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

 

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Hundreds of teens and young adults showed up at the Metro Center Mall in Jackson for the Mayors summer job expo. Monday. March 11, 2013


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