The Big Story Blog

Race, gender still divides jobless data

Posted at 3:51 PM on December 2, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

There's been plenty of debate today on the drop in the overall national unemployment rate and what the data mean. There's no doubt, though, of the wide and frustrating gap the data show when it comes to unemployment by race and gender.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report today noted:

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men fell by 0.5 percentage point to 8.3 percent in November.

The jobless rate for whites (7.6 percent) also declined, while the rates for adult women (7.8 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), blacks (15.5 percent), and Hispanics (11.4 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
Minnesota is a place where those race gaps, at least, tend to be magnified.

MPR News reporter Brandt Williams wrote today of local leaders meeting to find a way to address issues like housing, education and jobs.

The employment issue is particularly vexing. Four years since the Great Recession began, we're finding there's a recovery for people who have jobs but little recovery for those who don't. And the long term employed in Minnesota during the Great Recession are overwhelmingly people of color.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that clearly.

Using 2010 data, DEED found about six percent of white workers were unemployed in Minnesota and just over one percent were unemployed greater than six months. In sharp contrast, DEED found the black unemployment rate above 20 percent and the long-term rate above 4 percent.

Click on the chart for a larger view:


These are the kinds of gaps that will continue to haunt Minnesota even after the economy recovers completely.

BONUS: Click on the play button below to hear Brandt Williams' story on MPR News.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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