Rep. Al Green insisted Tuesday during a hearing with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell that black people have not had full employment “since slavery.”
“I’d also like to thank the people here who call themselves full employment defenders,” the Democrat from Texas said while questioning Powell. “Mr. Chairman, what do you consider full employment? I have the number 5.5 percent, but if you differ I’d like to hear your number please.”
Powell said he would peg full employment at anywhere between 3.5 and 5 percent, but ideally in the low fours.
“When was the last time African American unemployment was in the low fours or 3.5?” Green asked.
“I don’t think it ever has been in the years we’ve been measuring it,” Powell admitted.
“Quite frankly speaking, it hasn’t been since slavery. That’s the last time there was full employment for black people,” Green asserted, noting that 6.8 percent is the lowest black employment rate he can find.