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News from EPI Unemployment rates projected to remain high for whites, Latinos and African Americans through 2013

For Immediate Release: Monday, February 25, 2013 Contact: Donte Donald or Dan Crawford 202-775-8810

Unemployment rates projected to remain high for whites, Latinos and African Americans through 2013

Unemployment rates are expected to show essentially no improvement for white, Latino and African American workers through 2013, a new EPI report finds. InUnemployment rates are projected to remain high for whites, Latinos, and African Americans throughout 2013, EPI Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program Algernon Austin reviews unemployment rates by state and race.  Austin finds that the African American unemployment rate will continue to exceed the overall rate in each state with sufficient sample size for reliable statistics, the Latino unemployment rate will continue to exceed the overall rate in 13 out of 23 states with sample sizes large enough for estimates.  The white unemployment rate is also projected to remain unchanged throughout 2013 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

At the end of 2012, the African American unemployment rate significantly exceeded the overall state rate in all states analyzed, and this is projected to remain the case through 2013. Five states had black unemployment rates over 17 percent—Michigan (18.7 percent), New Jersey (17.8 percent), Illinois (17.6 percent), North Carolina (17.3 percent), and California (17.2 percent). In states in which the African American unemployment rate was low compared to other states, it was still high compared to the white unemployment rate. For example, at 9.5 percent, Louisiana had the lowest black unemployment rate, yet this was roughly the same as the highest white rate of 9.3 percent in Nevada.

Northeastern states—Rhode Island (18.2 percent), Connecticut (16.1 percent) and Pennsylvania (13.3 percent)—had the highest Latino unemployment rates among the states with sufficient sample size for reliable statistics. By contrast, Virginia (3.8 percent), Maryland (5.2 percent) and Nebraska (6.7 percent) had the lowest Latino unemployment rates.

“That unemployment will remain elevated for communities of color this year is no accident,” said Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).  “It is the result of lawmakers’ pursuit of reckless program cuts in a rush to trim the federal budget deficit, while paying no attention to a proactive jobs agenda.  Latino workers and families have already paid their fair share.  More cuts will only further curtail hiring, while leaving unemployed workers and their families with fewer services, like job training and nutrition assistance, in their time of greatest need.”

Finally, white unemployment rates remained either essentially equal to overall state rates or significantly lower in all states, with relatively little change projected through 2013. Nevada (9.3 percent), Rhode Island (9.0 percent) and New Jersey (8.6 percent) had the highest white unemployment rates. The lowest white unemployment rates were in North Dakota (2.1 percent), Nebraska (2.9 percent), and the District of Columbia (2.9 percent). The biggest differences between the white unemployment rate and the overall rate were in the District of Columbia and Mississippi. In the District of Columbia, the white rate was 5.5 percentage points lower than the overall rate. In Mississippi, the gap was 3.3 percentage points.

“America needs infrastructure investments to address the immediate jobs crisis and to ensure long-term economic growth,” states Austin. “It is one of the most effective policies we have to strengthen a weak economy.” View the interactive map.