- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Months after economists declared the U.S. recession over, unemployment numbers paint a clear picture of why America’s urban areas are hurting. With elections looming next year for all 435 House seats, the Congressional Black Caucus recently sent a letter to President Obama asking for federal dollars to create jobs and job-training opportunities for blacks.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors also has given the Obama administration call-to-action plans for jobs. The mayors say that although the stimulus helped somewhat, most of the money went to states. Mayors say that without rising employment numbers and additional revenue, some services will be trimmed. Public safety, education, public works and recreation are all on the table.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that black workers are hard hit but said he is president of all Americans.

“We have made a series of steps that make a huge difference. The only thing I cannot do is, you know, by law I can’t pass laws that say I’m just helping black folks. I’m the president of the entire United States,” Mr. Obama told American Urban Radio Networks.

The following statistics, provided by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, help explain why in the weeks leading up to midterm elections, employment is on the minds of black caucus members, who have returned to their home districts for holiday recess.

• Baltimore represents 51 percent of Maryland’s unemployed.

• Atlanta represents 57 percent of Georgia’s unemployed.

• In Ohio, the Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo metropolitan areas account for 42 percent. Columbus has an unemployment rate of 29 percent.

• Dallas represents 27 percent of Texas’ unemployed. The Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin areas account for 65 percent.

• In Iowa, the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo metro areas represent 31 percent of the state’s unemployed.

• The Denver and Colorado Springs areas account for 65 percent of Colorado’s unemployed.

• In Arizona, the Phoenix and Tucson areas account for 75 percent of the state’s unemployed. Phoenix alone represents 62 percent.

• In California, the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Francisco areas represent 57 percent. Los Angeles alone accounts for 33 percent.

• Seattle accounts for 53 percent of Washington’s unemployed. Combined with Spokane, the two areas represent 59 percent of the state’s unemployment.

• The Detroit metro area represents 50 percent of Michigan’s unemployed.

• Miami accounts for 31 percent in Florida. Orlando, Tampa and Miami represent 58 percent of the state’s unemployed.