Despite reports that the U.S. economy is bouncing back, times remain tough for the average American — especially those among the long-term unemployed. Nearly 1.3 million Americans saw their unemployment insurance terminated last year and over the next year, 4.9 million unemployed Americans will get fewer benefits.
President Obama has called income inequality the defining challenge of our time. At the end of 2012, the top 1 percent owned 50.4 percent of the total wealth in the country, a level that even surpasses that of 1928, when the roaring 20s stock bubble was at its peak. It’s no surprise that many of us continue to tighten our purse strings – a recent Bankrate.com survey showed that 38 percent of Americans even cut back on holiday spending last year.
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In this sluggish economic recovery, the banking industry can serve as a solid job creator (generating 1 million jobs over the next decade) and wealth builder in communities of color. The trend of growing racial economic inequality paired with our country rapidly becoming majority minority posses a great threat to our nation’s economic future. Greater economic inclusion in the leading sectors of the economy is a must and is why the NAACP is committed to working with them to advance greater racial equity.
The NAACP recently released a report, “Opportunity and Diversity Report Card: Consumer Banking Industry”, that highlights key areas where the banking industry can improve to ensure their workforce, leadership and suppliers adequately reflect the demographics of the United States.