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News from EPI Minority unemployment in some states remained near Great Depression levels in 2010

For Immediate release: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner,, 202-775-8810

Unemployment for Hispanics and African-Americans in some states remained near Great Depression levels in 2010

Though the economy has shown some signs of recovery in recent months, Hispanics and African-Americans are still experiencing severe joblessness in some states, at levels approaching those of the Great Depression.  In Depressed States: Unemployment rate near 20% for some groups, EPI researcher Algernon Austin examines unemployment rates by race state-by-state.

Most Hispanic populations had unemployment rates of 10% or higher in 2010, and Hispanics in California, Connecticut, Nevada and Rhode Island had unemployment rates of 15% or higher.  All African-American populations for which data is available had unemployment rates higher than 10%, and 17 of the 23 available states had average unemployment rates of 15% or higher.  California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi and South Carolina had the highest African-American unemployment rates in 2010—all averaged 18% or higher.

Hispanic workers in Rhode Island and African-American workers in Michigan experienced the most severe unemployment rates.  The Hispanic unemployment rate in Rhode Island averaged 21.6% in 2010, up from 20% in 2009.  The African-American unemployment rate in Michigan averaged 23.4% in 2010, up from 21.1% in 2009.  In comparison, overall unemployment during the Great Depression peaked at 22.9%.