White House Officials Tout African-Americans’ Progress During the Obama Administration

Earlier today, the White House convened a press conference to highlight gains made among African-Americans under the Obama administration. Since taking office in 2008, President Obama has lowered the unemployment rate, raised tax credits for Black families and has improved city infrastructure for African-Americans.

Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman pointed out on the call that Black Americans were disproportionately affected by the 2008 recession. “When the president came into office, the U.S. was in the midst of the most devastating recession since the Great Depression,” Furman said.

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At the height of the recession, the unemployment rate for Black Americans hovered slightly below 17 percent; however, the rate had dropped to 8.3 percent by December 2015. Additionally, White House officials are working to expanding income tax credits for non-qualifying parents, which could potentially benefit 2 million Americans. 

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said that the Obama administration is continuing to work to expand access to transportation, which could connect African-Americans with more employment opportunities as well as create new jobs.

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“We are working with every agency within the Department of Transportation to ensure that opportunity and inclusion are a part of everything we do,” Sec. Foxx said, adding that improving bus systems in Detroit and investing in light rail infrastructure in Crenshaw, California has vastly improved residents’ quality of life. 

“Everything that we do is focused on giving every American the chance to get ahead in life and contribute to a growing American economy,” said Julián Castro, Secretary of Housing Urban Development. “We know that when the African-American community succeeds, the entire nation succeeds.”