By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post

Scholars gathered for the African American Economic Summit at Howard University on Friday sketched an alarming picture of the financial ills afflicting the black community even as the nation recovers from the recession.Applying for jobs

The white-black wealth disparity is more than 20 to 1. Black homeownership has declined. Black joblessness is up. Black income is down.

Unemployment rate among blacks is historically higher than for whites.

As the conferees gathered, the government released new figures showing the black unemployment rate at 13.8 percent, nearly double the 7.0 percent for whites. The overall jobless rate is 7.9 percent.

As bleak as the economic picture is for black Americans, the immediate prospects for improving it are worse, many participants said. They agreed that chances are remote for the kind of aggressive, targeted action needed to combat those problems and close the economic disparities that have long separated blacks and whites.“We are basically talking about an economic system that is shot through with discrimination,” said Bernard E. Anderson, a former assistant secretary of labor.

Despite that, Anderson and others said, President Obama seems reluctant to attack economic disparities between blacks and whites head-on.

Sources: Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey. The Washington Post.

Sources: Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey. The Washington Post.

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