April 3, 2014 (New York, NY) Today, the National Urban League releases its 38th edition of the State of Black America® – One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America, which explores how un- and under-employment have widened the divide between the nation’s richest and poorest and transformed the dream of upward mobility into a reality of diminishing prospects. From President Barack Obama to Pope Francis to the World Economic Forum, income inequality has been identified as one of the most critical issues threatening our future on a global and domestic scale. Amid the discussions and debates about the wealth and income gaps facing Americans, simply having a job remains the biggest impediment to equity and empowerment in America.
As the National Urban League continues to press the case for closing growing divides in economic opportunity and mobility, this year’s State of Black America presents the 2014 Equality Index™, one of the most critical and respected tools for tracking racial equality in America – now in its 10th edition for the Black-White Index and its fifth year for the Hispanic-White Index. For the first time, the Equality Index includes rankings of U.S. cities in a new metropolitan section, ranking cities from most-to-least equal via the Black-White Index (77 cities) and Hispanic-White Index (83 cities) – providing a revealing look at the local dynamics beneath the national trends.
“The 2014 State of Black America and corresponding Equality Index indicate that while each state and city has its own economic recovery story to tell, the consistent refrain is that there is an urgent and growing disparity between the few who are reaping the rewards of economic recovery and the majority who are still reeling from aftershocks of the Great Recession,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “While ‘too big to fail’ corporations went into the bail-out emergency room and recovered to break earnings and stock market records, most Americans have been left in ICU with multiple diagnoses of unemployment, underemployment, home losses and foreclosures, low or no savings and retirement accounts, credit denials, and cuts in education and school funding. We must work to restore the very essence of 20th century America – the possibility of upward mobility for all – with a focus on meaningful solutions to these pressing challenges, including job creation and training, and ensuring that Americans are paid living wages for the work they do.”
Through thought-provoking essays and data-driven insights from Morial and leaders of the Urban League Movement, along with jazz great Wynton Marsalis, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns, author and scholar Dr. Thomas Shapiro, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, actor and philanthropist Hill Harper and many others, the State of Black America® – One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America issues a clarion call for a keen focus on job growth, access and training, as well as education, voting rights, criminal justice reform and health care to drive opportunity, equality and prosperity for communities in every corner of the nation.