The persistence of 16 percent black unemployment

One of the big factors behind the 16 percent African-American unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning is a huge drop in small business lending to black-owned businesses.
Black Money Worldwide reports that all of the Small Business Administration’s ten regions showed declines of up to 90 percent from 2008 to 2010 in 7a and ARRA loans to black-owned businesses.
That means banks, which actually make the loans under SBA guarantees, didn’t make them to black companies.
In most black communities, the only significant job creation comes from black businesses.
To increase the scale and reach of those companies, into manufacturing, we’re holding our 11th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology Symposium — INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities— in the historic Lincoln Theatre, in the heart of one of the most vibrant traditional black business districts at 1215 U St., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.
The hollowing out of America’s manufacturing base by multinational companies has disproportionately hit black workers.
Yet, black inventors gain 1,000 patents on average each year.
Rather than wistfully remembering how the likes of Lewis Latimer helped create giants like General Electric more than 100 years ago, it is time to pursue a different strategy where black innovators capture the growth and markets and job creation of their products.
Then the vacant factories that dot our neighborhoods can return to productive activity instead of being co-opted for gentrification projects.
Elected officials and consumers should take advantage of the new requirements in the financial reform law to monitor banks which have reduced their lending to black owned businesses over the past two years, many of them placing ads saying the exact reverse.
Equity in lending is the best way to tackle black unemployment.