Even with the news that the unemployment rate for African Americans dropped from 15.9% in April to 14.7% in June, blacks continue to feel the burdens of joblessness at a much more intense rate than whites or are currently at 8.3%. A recent study called Uneven Pain: Unemployment by Metropolitan Area and Race, conducted by Algernon Austin of the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute (EPI), outlined the disparities.
Surveying the impact of the Great Recession using data from 2009, the following were among their findings:
– Only one metro area had a white unemployment rate above 11.3% (Detroit with 13.8%). Nine metro areas had a Hispanic unemployment rate above 11.3% and 14 had a black unemployment rate above that level.
– No metropolitan area had a black unemployment rate below 7.3% and only two areas had Hispanic unemployment rates below 7.3%. Nearly half of the areas-24-had white unemployment rates below that level.
– The black-white unemployment ratio was highest in Minneapolis and Memphis. In these metropolitan areas, the black unemployment rate was three times the white rate.
Among the most disturbing of the findings was that, “in many instances, disparities are visible in unemployment rates even when we compare racial subgroups with the same level of education.”