Black America Is Still In A Deep Recession

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 03/26/2015 | 04:30 PM EDT

Unemployment rate for African Americans gives cause for alarm

While the American economy continues to strengthen, the Black community still finds itself in a recession.


With 12 straight months of job growth above 200,000 and an overall unemployment rate that dropped 5.5 percent, the country is in far better shape than it was during the start of the recession in 2007. For African-Americans, however, there’s seems to be very little light at the end of the tunnel.


The unemployment rate for Black people was 11 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and was 10.4 percent in February. Both rates are still higher than the peak the national unemployment rate reached during the height of the recession--which was 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009--according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute.


Think Progress reports:


While the national unemployment rates at the end of 2014 for white and Hispanic workers were both within 1 percentage point of where they were before the recession hit, the black unemployment rate was still 2.4 percentage points higher than at the end of 2007, before the crisis. State-level data draws an even starker picture. In Wisconsin, the black unemployment rate was nearly 20 percent last year, and 26 states and Washington, DC saw double-digit unemployment rates for their black residents. The highest the white rate reached in any state, on the other hand, was 7 percent in Nevada.


Things don’t look poised to get all that much better for black Americans. The overall unemployment rate is projected to fall to 5.4 percent by the end of this year, and white unemployment is expected to remain around 4.5 percent. But black workers are expected to have a 10.4 percent rate by the end of the year. While that’s a good deal higher than the 8.6 percent rate they experienced before the beginning of the recession, black Americans have experienced double-digit unemployment for most of the last half century.


While the Black unemployment rate has been double that of the white unemployment rate in recent months, the Black rate has always been at least 60 percent higher than the white rate since data was first collected in 1972.


Though African Americans face various challenges in the workforce, many believe racial discrimination is mostly to blame.


What do you think about these findings Centric readers? Sound off.


(Photo: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images)

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