Five years after the beginning of the Great Recession, nearly one in seven African American workers in Mississippi are unemployed, a new Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief finds. In Ongoing Joblessness in Mississippi: Unemployment rate for African Americans ninth in nation, more than double the state’s white rate, EPI Policy Analyst Mary Gable finds that the African American unemployment rate in Mississippi was 14.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, much more than double that of the white unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, and has been two to three times the white rate for much of the last five years. Statistically equal to the national black unemployment rate of 14.0 percent, Mississippi’s African American unemployment rate is the ninth highest among the 24 states with large enough black populations to measure unemployment.
Further, the black-white gap in unemployment rates in Mississippi is among the largest in the nation. At the greatest percentage-point disparity between black and white unemployment rates, which occurred in the first quarter of 2010, the black unemployment rate in Mississippi was 19.8 percent, more than triple the white unemployment rate of 5.9 percent.