Panel Discusses the Impact of Unemployment

APA member speaks on unemployment at Congressional Black Caucus event

APA's Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) secured the participation of APA member Lisa Bowleg, PhD, (The George Washington University) for a Sept. 19 panel discussion on unemployment in the African American community. The panel, hosted by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., was held as part of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. From a number of perspectives, panelists discussed both the impact of The Great Recession on African American employment and trends that emerged after the recession ended.

Lisa Bowleg, PhDBowleg focused her talk on the psychological impact of unemployment. Research says that among African Americans, depression is typically caused by a cascade of different stressors. She also noted that the longer the duration of unemployment, the more likely mental health issues will emerge, especially in the African American community. With unemployment among African Americans in August 2013 at 13 percent compared to 7.9 percent for the general population (Bureau of Labor Statistics, PDF, 222KB), African Americans remain at risk for financial and other stressors that may result in mental health issues.

Other panelists included: 

  • John Schmitt, Center for Economic Policy and Research
  • Shamar Bibbins, Green for All
  • Michael Wenger, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Charles Betsey, PhD, Department of Economics at Howard University