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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

February 28, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Recession lingers for African-Americans, Hispanics

No group has been hit harder by the jobs crisis than African-Americans and Hispanics. According to the Economic Policy Institute, African-American unemployment exceeded 10 percent in 24 states and the District of Columbia in the third quarter of 2011; for Hispanics it was 14 states (and this is where data are available to dig this deep). Little relief is expected in 2012.

Minnesota turned in the highest rate for African-Americans, at 27.4 percent; the overall rate was 7.1 percent. In Rhode Island, 19.6 percent of Hispanics are unemployed, vs. an overall rate of 10.6 percent. By contrast, Nevada was highest for white joblessness at 11.7 percent. In Washington, 15.3 percent of Hispanic workers were without a job, vs. 9.3 percent for the third quarter for all workers, fourth worst in the nation. African-American data were not available for Washington.

Nationally, in 2011, African-American unemployment stood at 15.8 percent compared with 7.9 percent for whites. This continues a 50-year trend of high joblessness.

The reasons behind the numbers are complex. Minorities are more likely to be poor, which means attending schools with inadequate funding. Few ladder-up jobs in manufacturing exist, and most service jobs pay far less and provide much less economic mobility. As job centers have sprawled into suburbs, public transportation hasn’t kept up, leaving many minority workers without a way to reach employment. Lower-skilled workers that found jobs in the housing industry are now likely to be unemployed. However one slices it, it’s a crisis for the country with too many citizens left behind, a terrible waste of human capital and a moral shame. Even if the Dow stays above 13,000, the economy won’t heal until all citizens have a fair shot at good jobs.

And Don’t Miss: Amid industry chatter, a U.S. company claims a big battery advance || Foreign Policy

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Do you jump in now?

Or is a correction due?

The house always wins

Comments | More in Inequality, Jobs/Unemployment

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