Black America has been left out of the nation's economic recovery and, because of high unemployment and increasing poverty, is verging on permanent exclusion from the nation's economic life, the National Urban League charged yesterday in its annual State of Black America report.
The report criticized the Reagan administration's civil rights policies, which it said have brought enforcement of civil rights laws to a "standstill." It added that the administration has acted as a "Rambo-like destroyer of civil rights gains."
In the overview for the 1986 report, Urban League President John E. Jacob wrote that a growing economic disparity between blacks and whites was "plain to see over the past months. . . . " But, he added, ". . . when it comes to the reality of how quickly much of black America is losing ground in comparison to others, it would seem that much of America has put on blinders."
At a news conference, Jacob said he expects President Reagan, in the State of the Union address, to say that the economy is booming and jobs are plentiful.
He said that description "will exclude black Americans because the state of black America today is deeply troubled."
Jacob said the nation's economy in 1985 showed "ominous trends [suggesting] that the proportion of middle-class black families may decline during the rest of the 1980s," because of a decline in black high school graduates attending college.
"The report we issue today accurately describes a black America excluded from the economic boom, excluded from full participation in job growth and in danger of being excluded from tomorrow's economic mainstream as well," he said.
"The blunt fact is that blacks never make up for the ground they lose in recessions. So while the rest of America is wondering how much longer this mature economic boom will last, blacks are wondering whether we will ever get back to where we were before the last recession," he added.
Jacob cited statistics indicating that after two years of recovery -- 1984 and 1985 -- blacks have not regained the income level they had before the 1980 recession.
Writing on the economic status of blacks in the National Urban League report, David H. Swinton, director of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy at Clark College, said conditions for blacks have improved since the 1982 and 1983 recession but that blacks remain "at the most depressed [economic] level experienced in the last 20 years, excepting the depths of the Reagan recession."
Jacob said the most significant development of the past year was an increase in programs run by black organizations to help with problems in the black community, such as teen-age pregnancy, crime, education and drugs.
"But if you tune in the news or read a daily paper you are likely to hear about how blacks need to do more to help themselves," Jacob said. "We are. We have always done so. That's what the National Urban League is all about."