Minority Unemployment Skyrocketing, Report Says
GROWING WHITE-MINORITY UNEMPLOYMENT GAP EXPECTED TO
WIDEN EVEN FURTHER IN 2010
State-by-state projections put third-quarter unemployment above 20% among
African Americans in five states; above 12% for Hispanics in nine states
As the nation braces for rising unemployment, which forecasters say will reach 10.7% in the third
quarter of this year, a new forecast shows even grimmer times ahead for the nation’s African
Americans and Hispanics.
In “Downcast Unemployment Forecast,” Economic Policy Institute Policy Analyst Kai Filion
reports that unemployment inequality between whites and minorities, already wide at the start of the
recession, has grown dramatically and will continue to expand even further as unemployment
continues to rise.
Among the consequences Filion predicts is a staggering poverty rate of 50% for African American
children. His research offers a state-by-state look at the fast-rising unemployment among African
Americans and Hispanics, expected to reach 17.2% among blacks and 13.9% among Hispanics
nationally in the third quarter of the year. Both groups are expected to reach much higher rates in
many states, however. Key findings and projections include:
• From the start of the recession to quarter three of 2010, white unemployment will have
grown 5.0 percentage points, while the unemployment rate has increased much faster for
blacks and Hispanics, which are expected to show recession-wide rises of 8.6 and 7.9
percentage points, respectively.
• In five states – Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and South Carolina – African American
unemployment will exceed 20% in the third quarter, with the highest rate of 27% projected
• In nine states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and New
York – Hispanic unemployment will exceed 12%, with the highest level of 22.2% expected
in Nevada, followed by California at 17.6%.
• The greatest growth in the white-black unemployment gap is predicted for Alabama, where
unemployment will have grown 6.0 percentage points among whites and 15.2 points among
• A similar analysis between whites and Hispanics shows that the fastest-rising inequality is
in Nevada, where the rise in unemployment for Hispanics will be about twice as fast as for
whites by the third quarter – an increase of 7.3 percentage points among whites and 15.5
• The gender gap in unemployment is now the largest on record (since 1948 when these data
were first collected). Nationally unemployment will climb to 11.7% among all men by the
third quarter and to 9.7% among women. Gender disparities, too, vary by state, with the
widest gap projected for Michigan of 20.0% unemployment for men versus 13.8% for
“These sobering data show us that the nation must do more to address the ongoing human tragedy
brought on by this recession,” Filion concludes. “There is no reason why we should tolerate such
outcomes – elected officials can and must put millions of Americans back to work with bold,
targeted job creation policies.
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The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that researches the impact of
economic trends and policies on working people in the United States and around the world. EPI's mission is to inform
people and empower them to seek solutions that will ensure broadly shared prosperity and opportunity.