Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama's failed job policies are facing bitter criticism from African-American leaders who say black unemployment has grown worse under his presidency.

After four years of holding their tongues and remaining quiet in the face of sharply rising black unemployment and record poverty, political leaders from the Congressional Black Caucus to the NAACP have begun to open fire on the White House.

Obama won 96 percent of the black vote in 2008 and about the same percentage in 2012, despite a worsening jobless crisis among African-Americans. At 14 percent for adults and 43.1 percent for 16-to-19-year-old teenagers, blacks still have the highest jobless rate of any minority group in the U.S.

Black leaders in Congress largely kept their complaints to themselves throughout Obama's first term in office and his re-election campaign. But no longer.

The nation's black leadership has become a great deal more vocal lately about severe unemployment, fewer job opportunities, and a weak, lackluster economy. They are especially unhappy with the fact that Obama has placed relatively few black officials in top level positions in his second term administration.

It didn't get that much media attention, but shortly after Obama was inaugurated in January, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous went on nationwide television to condemn Obama's weak job creation record, charging that black Americans "are doing a full point worse" than when Obama became president.

"The country's back to pretty much where it was when this president started," Jealous said on Meet The Press on Jan. 27.

The government's employment numbers maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics support Jealous' latest criticism. The black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent when President George W. Bush finished his second term and Obama took office.

It soared over the first three years of Obama's first term to 16.7 percent by September 2011 (the worst jobless rate for black Americans since 1983). Unemployment among black teenagers exploded to 39.3 percent in July, 2012.

"Statistics show that the African-American community is in bad shape under the Obama administration," the widely read web site "Your Black World" said this week.

Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, let loose with some stinging criticisms of Obama's record on his appointments in his second term.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.