Unemployment among the black teenagers remains a serious problem nationwide, with the unemployment rate for black teen-agers at 37.1 percent in June, compared with 14.2 percent for all teen-agers nationally, the government reported yesterday.
According to Labor Department statistics, the unemployment rate for black teen-agers remains the highest of any population group. The June rate was down slightly from the May rate of 38.4 percent, while the rate a year ago was 40 percent.
"The situation is very serious for black teen-agers." Andrew Brimmer, a former governor on the Federal Reserve Board and now a Washington consultant, commented yesterday.
"The situation is improving very, very slowly. Not enough is being done," he said.
Brimmer noted that the slight improvement in unemployment for blackteen-agers was less than the improvement for white teen-agers during the recent month. The ratio of the black teen-agers was less than the im- that for whites jumped to 3.2 in June from 2.78 in May, he calculated.
In June, 181,000 more white teen-agers and 10,000 more black teen-agers found jobs, Brimmer said.
Behind the difference in the employment rates for the two groups, Brimmer said, is the fact that most white teen-agers "live in the suburbs where the jobs are where the growth is greater."
Brimmer said he would like to see continuation and expansion of government programs designed to find employment for teen-agers with no job skill. Yesterday, one such program run by Youth Pride Inc. certified nearly 400 District youths for work in its summer program.
According to Camilla Brooks, director of in-school programs for Pride, their program finds jobs for economically disadvantaged students - those from families now receiving some sort of government financial assistance. The program receives government funds under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
Pride Inc. works with the District's Department of Manpower and area schools to place the students in community service jobs, Brooks said.
Silva King, who accompanied her 16-year-old sister at Pride, said getting jobs for black teen-agers is "easier now than it was." She attributed the improvements to programs such as Pride's. "It's still hard in the winter time," she said, because many employment programs last only for the summer.
Barbara Bergmann, professor of economics at the University of Maryland, said the high unemployment rate for black teen-agers is "due to discrimination in large part." She said she noticed discrimination in some restaurants, which she said had never hired black employes.
"I look at black unemployment as an extremely serious problem that is not being addressed." Bergmann said. What has inhibited solutions to the problem, she said, is a fear of inflation.
"As serious as some people see the problem of inflation, it can not be more serious than getting our black teen-agers prepared for the world of work," she said.
Bergmann said she is coming around to the idea of wage and pride controls as a solution to unemployment problems. The controls, she said, "would free our concern from inflation so we can begin attacking the unemployment problem."
If the nation's economy goes into a recession, Brimmer said, he expects "blacks generally and teen-agers in particular to carry a disproportionate share of the slow growth and rising unemployment."