The co-founder of Black Entertainment Network (BET), Robert Johnson, said in an interview with CNBC that "the Trump tax cut" has led not only to general economic growth, he added that "you've never seen African-American unemployment this low and the spread between African-Americans and whites narrowing."
The interviewer on Friday’s edition of “Squawk Box," Joe Kernen, asked: “You’re iconic. I don’t know what you want to talk about today, but there is the economic backdrop, I want to get your viewpoint because you have so many businesses and how things are going but I want to get your comments on the political environment as well and how it relates to the economic environment. How is business?”
Johnson -- the first black American billionaire -- responded, “Business is very good." He added, "I believe that if you take into account the Trump tax cut, you take into account the drop in unemployment and particularly unemployment for African-Americans, it’s the lowest it’s ever been in history. And you take into account the fact that interest rates are fairly stable, they will probably drift up, but so far... And I think the business community is committed to reinvest capital that they get from some of the tax advantages and that as a result of that, I think the economy is going to grow."
Referring to his RLJ Companies, Johnson (71) said, "We’re about the 21st largest car dealership group in the country. People are still buying cars as interest rates are favorable." Johnson continued, "Hotels seem to be coming back, business travelers are going back on airplanes and traveling and staying in hotels. That works for us. And there’s still capital out there to raise in the private equity field." he added.
Johnson went on to say, “So when you put all that together, and particularly from our vantage point of the focus on urban markets and African-American community, when you got about — African-Americans are down around 4, 5 [percentage points in unemployment]... that’s a pretty good testament to the fact that there are a lot of jobs out there looking for people who are traditionally underemployed."
Referring to Larry Kudlow -- President Trump’s new senior economic adviser -- Johnson said, “I’m glad he’s in D.C., I’m going to call and tell him, 'Welcome to D.C.” Johnson and Kudlow attended Harvard Business School together.
The U.S. jobs report fell short of expectations on Friday, adding 103,000 jobs in March when about 195,000 were forecast, the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent: which is the lowest level since December 2000. Also, according to the Labor Department, wages rose 0.3 percent, or 2.7 percent year over year, which was slightly more than anticipated.