Report | Race and Ethnicity

No relief in 2012 from high unemployment for African Americans and Latinos

Issue Brief #322

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Press release

Even though the U.S. recession officially ended in June 2009, the country’s unemployment rate remains devastatingly high. The situation is particularly dire for many African Americans and Latinos—and is not predicted to improve any time soon.

Among the states with sufficient data for reliable estimates, African American unemployment rates exceeded 10 percent in 24 states and the District of Columbia in the third quarter of 2011, while unemployment rates for Latinos exceeded this symbolic threshold in 14 states. If our political leaders fail to quickly enact bold measures to spur a faster economic recovery, the status quo of high unemployment rates for African Americans and Latinos is likely to persist throughout 2012.

From left, panelists Algernon Austin (EPI Director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy), Valerie Rawlston Wilson (National Urban League Policy Institute Economist and Vice President of Research), Tanya Clay House (Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Director of Public Policy), and Brandon Garrett (Congressional Black Caucus Policy Director) at the EPI event “Hit hard by the recession, left behind in the recovery: Achieving full employment for black workers” on Feb. 16.

This issue brief reviews the unemployment rates by state for whites, Latinos, and African Americans for the third quarter of 2011 and the projected rates for the fourth quarter of 2012. We find:

  • While the white unemployment rate remains high nationally, in each state and the District of Columbia, it is lower than the overall unemployment rate for each state. In the third quarter of 2011, the highest white unemployment rate was in Nevada (11.7 percent), and the lowest was in North Dakota (2.2 percent).
  • In the third quarter of 2011, the states with the highest Latino unemployment rates were in the Northeast: Rhode Island (19.6 percent), Connecticut (18.7 percent), and Pennsylvania (17.5 percent). The lowest rate was in Virginia (4.6 percent).
  • In each state, the black unemployment rate is higher than the overall rate. In the third quarter of 2011, it ranged from a low of 1.4 times the overall state rate in South Carolina to a high of 3.9 times the overall rate in Minnesota.
  • The highest unemployment rate for blacks—27.4 percent—was in Minnesota, where the overall unemployment rate was 7.1 percent. The lowest was in Maryland, which had a black unemployment rate of 11.2 percent, while the overall rate in the state was 7.3 percent.
  • The lowest black unemployment rate of 11.2 percent in Maryland is nearly equal to the highest white unemployment rate of 11.7 percent in Nevada.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate for each race in nearly every state is projected to remain very similar to the level recorded in the third quarter of 2011.

White unemployment rates by state

Nationally, the unemployment rate for whites is lower than the rate for the country as a whole (Table 1). Similarly, the white unemployment rate for each state and the District of Columbia is lower than each state’s overall unemployment rate. (We will consider the District of Columbia a state in this issue brief.) In the third quarter of 2011, the highest white unemployment rates were in Nevada (11.7 percent) and California (10 percent), while the lowest rate was in North Dakota (2.2 percent). Nebraska, South Dakota, the District of Columbia, and North Dakota all had white unemployment rates below 4 percent.

The white unemployment rate for each state in the fourth quarter of 2012 is projected to be very similar to the rate for the third quarter of 2011. Only California is projected to have a change in white unemployment of more than one percentage point, dropping by 1.1 percentage points to 8.9 percent. This would give the state the fourth-highest white unemployment rate in the country, compared with the second-highest today.

Table 1

Unemployment rates for white and all workers, by state (third quarter, 2011, and projected fourth quarter, 2012)

Third quarter, 2011 Fourth quarter, 2012 (projected)
Rank State White All Rank State White All
1 Nevada 11.7% 13.2% 1 Nevada 11.8% 13.4%
2 California 10.0% 12.0% 2 Michigan 9.7% 11.2%
3 Michigan 9.6% 11.1% 3 Oregon 9.1% 9.7%
4 Rhode Island 9.1% 10.6% 4 California 8.9% 10.7%
5 Oregon 8.9% 9.6% 5 Rhode Island 8.7% 10.2%
5 South Carolina 8.9% 11.0% 5 South Carolina 8.7% 10.7%
7 Idaho 8.7% 9.2% 7 Arizona 8.0% 9.5%
8 Kentucky 8.6% 9.6% 7 Tennessee 8.0% 9.5%
9 Washington 8.5% 9.3% 7 Washington 8.0% 8.7%
10 Florida 8.4% 10.7% 10 Idaho 7.9% 8.3%
11 Illinois 8.2% 9.8% 10 Indiana 7.9% 9.0%
11 Tennessee 8.2% 9.8% 10 Illinois 7.9% 9.4%
13 Alabama 7.9% 9.9% 13 North Carolina 7.8% 10.3%
14 Georgia 7.8% 10.2% 13 Kentucky 7.8% 8.6%
14 North Carolina 7.8% 10.3% 15 Georgia 7.5% 9.8%
14 Arizona 7.8% 9.3% 15 Ohio 7.5% 8.8%
14 Ohio 7.8% 9.1% 17 Florida 7.4% 9.5%
18 Indiana 7.6% 8.7% 18 Massachusetts 7.3% 7.7%
18 New Jersey 7.6% 9.4% 19 New Jersey 7.2% 8.9%
20 Missouri 7.5% 8.7% 20 Alabama 7.1% 8.9%
21 Utah 7.3% 7.5% 21 Maine 7.0% 7.5%
22 Maine 7.2% 7.6% 21 Missouri 7.0% 8.2%
23 West Virginia 7.1% 8.1% 23 Pennsylvania 6.7% 8.0%
23 Colorado 7.1% 8.4% 23 Montana 6.7% 7.6%
25 Massachusetts 7.0% 7.4% 23 West Virginia 6.7% 7.7%
25 Connecticut 7.0% 9.0% 23 Delaware 6.7% 8.0%
27 Pennsylvania 6.9% 8.1% 23 Utah 6.7% 6.8%
28 Montana 6.8% 7.7% 28 Connecticut 6.5% 8.4%
28 Delaware 6.8% 8.1% 29 Alaska 6.4% 7.6%
30 Alaska 6.5% 7.6% 30 Colorado 6.3% 7.5%
31 Texas 6.3% 8.5% 30 Mississippi 6.3% 10.4%
31 Mississippi 6.3% 10.5% 32 New York 6.2% 8.2%
31 Wisconsin 6.3% 7.8% 33 Texas 6.1% 8.2%
34 Arkansas 6.2% 8.3% 34 Wyoming 6.0% 6.4%
35 New York 6.1% 8.0% 35 Arkansas 5.8% 7.8%
36 Minnesota 5.9% 7.1% 36 Wisconsin 5.7% 7.2%
37 Vermont 5.7% 5.8% 36 New Mexico 5.7% 7.5%
38 Maryland 5.6% 7.3% 38 Maryland 5.6% 7.3%
39 Iowa 5.5% 6.0% 38 Vermont 5.6% 5.7%
40 Hawaii 5.4% 6.2% 40 Minnesota 5.4% 6.6%
40 Kansas 5.4% 6.6% 41 Iowa 5.3% 5.8%
40 Wyoming 5.4% 5.8% 41 Virginia 5.3% 6.7%
43 New Hampshire 5.1% 5.3% 43 Hawaii 5.1% 5.9%
43 New Mexico 5.1% 6.6% 43 Kansas 5.1% 6.3%
45 Virginia 5.0% 6.3% 45 New Hampshire 4.9% 5.1%
46 Louisiana 4.5% 7.2% 46 Louisiana 4.4% 7.1%
47 Oklahoma 4.3% 5.7% 47 Oklahoma 4.0% 5.3%
48 Nebraska 3.6% 4.2% 48 Nebraska 3.7% 4.3%
48 South Dakota 3.6% 4.7% 49 South Dakota 3.4% 4.5%
50 District of Columbia 3.4% 11.0% 50 District of Columbia 3.2% 10.5%
51 North Dakota 2.2% 3.4% 51 North Dakota 2.4% 3.8%
United States 7.4% 9.1% United States 7.0% 8.7%

Note: States are ranked by highest to lowest white unemployment rate.

Sources: EPI estimates based on data from the Current Population Survey and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and December 2011 projections from Moody’s Economy.com

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Latino unemployment rates by state

In the third quarter of 2011, Northeastern states had the highest Latino unemployment rates, as shown in Table 2. (Note that, as mentioned previously, this analysis is limited to states with sufficient sample size for reliable statistics.) Rhode Island (19.6 percent) topped the list, followed by Connecticut (18.7 percent) and Pennsylvania (17.5 percent). This is surprising considering that the states with the highest overall unemployment rates are Nevada and California—both states in which a fairly large share of the labor force is Latino. Yet Nevada ranks sixth in Latino unemployment, and California ranks fifth. More research is necessary to understand the causes of high unemployment rates for Latinos in the Northeast.

Table 2

Unemployment rates for Latino and all workers, by state (third quarter, 2011, and projected fourth quarter, 2012)

Third quarter, 2011 Fourth quarter, 2012 (projected)
Rank State Latino All Rank State Latino All
1 Rhode Island 19.6% 10.6% 1 Rhode Island 18.8% 10.2%
2 Connecticut 18.7% 9.0% 2 Connecticut 17.3% 8.4%
3 Pennsylvania 17.5% 8.1% 3 Pennsylvania 17.2% 8.0%
4 Washington 15.3% 9.3% 4 Washington 14.4% 8.7%
5 California 13.7% 12.0% 5 Nevada 13.7% 13.4%
6 Nevada 13.5% 13.2% 6 Arizona 12.8% 9.5%
7 Idaho 12.6% 9.2% 7 Massachusetts 12.3% 7.7%
8 Arizona 12.4% 9.3% 8 California 12.2% 10.7%
9 Florida 12.3% 10.7% 9 Idaho 11.4% 8.3%
10 Colorado 12.1% 8.4% 10 New Jersey 11.3% 8.9%
11 New Jersey 11.9% 9.4% 11 Illinois 11.0% 9.4%
12 Massachusetts 11.8% 7.4% 11 New York 11.0% 8.2%
13 Illinois 11.5% 9.8% 13 Florida 10.9% 9.5%
14 New York 10.7% 8.0% 14 Colorado 10.8% 7.5%
15 North Carolina 9.1% 10.3% 15 New Mexico 9.0% 7.5%
16 Texas 9.0% 8.5% 15 North Carolina 9.0% 10.3%
17 Utah 8.3% 7.5% 17 Texas 8.7% 8.2%
18 Delaware 8.2% 8.1% 18 Delaware 8.1% 8.0%
19 New Mexico 8.0% 6.6% 19 Utah 7.6% 6.8%
20 District of Columbia 7.5% 11.0% 20 District of Columbia 7.2% 10.5%
21 Georgia 6.4% 10.2% 21 Maryland 6.4% 7.3%
22 Maryland 6.3% 7.3% 22 Georgia 6.1% 9.8%
23 Nebraska 5.5% 4.2% 23 Nebraska 5.6% 4.3%
24 Virginia 4.6% 6.3% 24 Virginia 4.9% 6.7%
United States 11.3% 9.1% United States 10.8% 8.7%

Note: States are ranked by highest to lowest Latino unemployment rate, based on states with sufficient data by race for reliable estimates.

Sources: EPI estimates based on data from the Current Population Survey and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and December 2011 projections from Moody’s Economy.com

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While four states had white unemployment rates below 4 percent in the third quarter of 2011, no state had comparably low Latino unemployment rates. The lowest rate was in Virginia, with a Latino unemployment rate of 4.6 percent.

As with whites, the projected Latino state unemployment rates for the fourth quarter of 2012 are very similar to the rates for the third quarter of 2011. The four states with the highest unemployment rates in the third quarter of 2011 are also projected to have the highest rates at the end of 2012, with the rank order of these states projected to remain unchanged. California and Florida are expected to see the largest reductions in Hispanic unemployment, but these decreases will likely not exceed 1.5 percentage points.

African American unemployment rates by state

While the white unemployment rate is consistently lower than the overall state rate, the black rate is consistently higher (as shown in Table 3). Indeed, the lowest black unemployment rate is about equal to the highest white unemployment rate.

In the third quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate for African Americans ranged from a low of 1.4 times the overall state rate in South Carolina to 3.9 times the overall rate in Minnesota.

Blacks in Minnesota experienced the highest unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2011, at 27.4 percent. Four other states had black unemployment rates of more than 20 percent: Michigan (21.8 percent), California (21.3 percent), the District of Columbia (21.1 percent), and Ohio (20.3 percent).

In the third quarter of 2011, the lowest black unemployment rates were in Maryland (11.2 percent) and Virginia (11.6 percent). These states encircle the District of Columbia, the area with the fourth-highest black unemployment rate. This finding suggests that there are significant demographic and economic differences between blacks inside and adjacent to the District of Columbia.

As with whites and Latinos, the projected black unemployment rates for the fourth quarter of 2012 are very similar to the rates for the third quarter of 2011. Most of the changes are within one percentage point in either direction. Again, the largest decline is in California, where the black unemployment rate is projected to decline 2.4 percentage points. Similarly, Florida and Minnesota are projected to see declines of 2 percentage points. But even with these reductions, these three states will all still have black unemployment rates higher than 15 percent, and, in the case of Minnesota, more than 25 percent.

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Specific policy and legislative guidance for updating state overtime protections: State action to modernize overtime rules (policy guidance)

A new federal overtime pay rule that would have improved the lives and livelihoods of modest wage earners in all states has been determined to be invalid by a district court judge in Texas. But while the business interests that backed the court case have succeeded in blocking DOL’s implementation and enforcement of a rule that would have benefited 12.5 million workers, policymakers in the states have an opportunity to step up and support working people. The 2016 federal rule would have extended automatic overtime pay protection to salaried workers making up to $47,476 a year; in addition, under the rule, the exemption threshold would be automatically updated every three years to keep pace with overall wage growth. Under the old, outdated federal rule, mid-level managers at retail outlets and restaurants, for example, were only eligible for overtime pay if they made less than $23,660 per year, meaning their employers could require them to work 50 or 60 hour weeks without paying any compensation for the extra hours beyond 40. Under the old rule, there was no provision for updating the threshold, and its value has eroded dramatically since 1975, when it was last fully adjusted for inflation.

We recommend that states follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2016 final rule and:

  • Raise the salary threshold required for exemption from eligibility for overtime pay (avenues for raising the threshold are described below). Base the threshold on a simple, appropriate benchmark (options for setting the threshold are given below).
  • Establish an automatic update of this salary level at regular intervals according to the same benchmark.

We are not opposed to strengthening the “duties test” for determining eligibility for overtime pay protection (more on the duties test below). However, for the sake of simplicity in messaging and implementation, we recommend focusing on the salary threshold alone.

State action is imperative because the path forward at the federal level is unclear. Campaigns to raise overtime thresholds in the states could create momentum to push for a stronger federal standard. For this reason, we encourage state organizations to focus on state thresholds but also to follow the federal overtime rulemaking process on EPI’s overtime issue page (www.epi.org/research/overtime/) and push for a stronger federal overtime rule if the opportunity arises.

Specific ways state organizations can support efforts to raise the overtime salary thresholds in their states

Modest wage earners in all states have lost automatic overtime protection due to the blockage of the new federal overtime pay rule (link to map and report). The losses are smaller in New York and California, which have both enacted state policies establishing overtime salary thresholds higher than the $23,660 federal level.

State options for raising the overtime salary threshold

There are several possible avenues for raising the overtime salary threshold in states. State organizations may pursue updates to state thresholds in the following ways:

  • Help draft and promote state legislation providing the protections that the federal overtime rule would have provided to workers. The strongest action states could take at this moment would be to pass legislation raising the state overtime threshold, following the parameters of 2016 overtime rule. Even in states where passage of such a law would be difficult, introducing it and seeking public hearings or staging press conferences would raise awareness and could help create a constituency to advocate for better protections for overworked low- and moderate-wage workers.
  • Start a ballot initiative so that voters can weigh in to provide the protections that the federal overtime rule would have provided to workers. In states that are amenable to ballot initiative campaigns, groups could place an initiative on the ballot to raise the state’s overtime threshold to provide more low- and moderate-wage workers with overtime pay.
  • Support executive action. In states that currently have their own overtime laws, the overtime salary threshold may be changed through an administrative regulation. Working with the governor and/or state department of labor, if this is an available option, could be a good way to obtain an administrative change, if the local political climate is conducive to such a change.

How the salary threshold fits into the “white collar” exemption to overtime protections

The federal overtime regulation, which is authorized under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is the basis for many state overtime rules and serves as the effective regulation in states that lack their own overtime rules or have weaker overtime rules.1 The federal law says that workers must be paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked beyond 40 in one week. But it carves out exemptions—worker groups that employers could pay overtime to, if the employer wanted to, but are not required to. One key exemption is for workers considered sufficiently senior in duties and in pay that they don’t need overtime protection. 2 In order for a worker to be exempt from (ineligible for) guaranteed overtime pay based on this “white collar” exemption, all three of the following requirements must be met:

  1. Salary basis test: The employee must be paid a salary, not by the hour or on a piece-rate basis.
  2. Salary threshold test: The employee must be paid above a certain threshold. Before the Department of Labor updated the regulations in 2016, this threshold was $455 weekly, or the equivalent of $23,660 annually for an employee who works year-round.
  3. Duties test: The employee must perform actual executive/managerial/professional duties, as defined in the regulations (www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/fs17a_overview.htm).

If any one of these three requirements isn’t met, a worker is eligible for overtime pay. If all three requirements are met, the worker is exempt from the overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the employer does not have to pay the worker overtime.

How the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2016 final rule updated the “white-collar exemption”:

The U.S DOL updated the overtime salary threshold to more closely track a level of salary that would reasonably be paid to a managerial, administrative, or professional worker today.

  • The rule set the threshold at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the Census region with the lowest wages (the South).
  • This adjustment (which used earnings data from the fourth quarter of 2015) raised the salary threshold required for exemption to $913 weekly, which translates into $47,476 for a year-round worker. (Note that using data from the second quarter of 2017 the threshold would be $931 weekly.3)
  • The rule established an automatic update of this salary level every three years to precisely the same standard (i.e., every three years, the salary threshold would be adjusted to the updated 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region).
  • The rule did not change the duties test or the salary basis test.

State options for setting the standard for the salary threshold for exemption

Organizations seeking to raise wages for low- and middle-wage workers in their state will want to consider what is the most meaningful standard to propose for setting the salary threshold in their state. Options include:

  • Raise the threshold to match the federal rule standard. However, because the federal threshold is set to the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the South, this option makes less sense for states outside of the South.
  • Adapt the federal standard based on the wages in the state’s Census region. To set the salary threshold to the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in a state’s Census region, use publicly available data provided quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly (these data are also provided in the tables below).
  • Adapt the federal standard based on the wages in the state. To set the salary threshold to the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in a specific state, use data calculated by EPI and provided in the tables below.
  • Set the threshold to a multiple of earnings at the state’s minimum wage. For example, in California, the threshold for exemption is set at a monthly earnings rate equivalent to two times the state’s minimum wage, assuming a full-time schedule.

Why is the 40th percentile of earnings an appropriate threshold for overtime eligibility?

The “40th percentile of earnings” means that 40 percent of full-time salaried workers earn at or below that amount. The Department of Labor concluded that the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the South) represented the most appropriate line of demarcation between workers who are bona fide executives, administrators, or professionals, and those who are not. It represents a much-needed increase from the prior salary threshold, which covers less than 7 percent of full-time salaried workers. But it is still lower, after taking inflation into account, than the threshold was in 1975. In 1975, more than 60 percent of workers were below the salary threshold; under the 2016 threshold it is 33 percent.4

Draft language

Below is language that may be used to draft overtime legislation. This language may also be adapted for use in an executive order or state DOL rule. The highlighted text would be modified depending on what threshold is chosen. Note that all of the named occupations in clause number 3 are standard for the exemptions in statutory language.

A. (1) To qualify as an individual who is employed in a bona fide administrative, executive, or professional capacity and is exempt from the statute’s overtime pay requirements, an individual shall be compensated on a salary basis:

a. In an amount per week not less than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time non-hourly workers in the lowest-wage census region; and

b. In an amount per week, exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities, that is not less than:

1. 913; and

2. Beginning January 1, 2018, determined by the Commissioner under Subsection (B) of this section.

3. The salary requirements in this section shall not apply to teachers, certain licensed medical professionals, licensed attorneys, or other individuals employed in a professional capacity to whom the salary requirements for exemption under U.S. Department of Labor regulations in effect in 2015 would not have applied.

(2) The required amount of compensation per week under Paragraph (1) of this Subsection may be:

a. For an individual employed in an administrative capacity or a professional capacity, paid on a fee basis; or

b. Translated into equivalent amounts for periods of time longer than one week, including compensation that is paid on a biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly basis.

B. On January 1, 2020, and every three years thereafter, the Commissioner shall adjust the salary amount under the Subsection (A) of this section to equal the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time non-hourly workers in the lowest-wage census region in the second quarter of the

C. The Commissioner may adopt regulations to implement this section.

A note on the duties test

As noted earlier, workers whose earnings exceed the salary threshold still qualify for overtime pay if they do not have work duties that are managerial, administrative, or professional in nature. (The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has a fact sheet that explains this “exemption for executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees.”5 State DOLs may have fact sheets for their own laws.)

Changes at the federal level in 2004 simplified the duties test by switching to a single duties test but made it less rigorous by allowing workers to perform an unlimited amount of nonexempt work (such as operating cash registers, stocking shelves, and sweeping floors) and still be classified as an exempt manager or professional. Here, states should follow the lessons learned at the federal level. During the 2016 rulemaking process, changes to the duties test were overwhelmingly opposed by businesses, with many articulating that most employers are already very familiar with the standard duties test and that a new duties test would be complex to learn and apply in practice. In the 2016 final rule, the U.S. Department of Labor decided not to change the duties test because it would have been disruptive to employers and businesses to learn and apply a new test. That is a key reason why the federal rule significantly raised the salary threshold—so that it would cover workers subject to the less rigorous, and less protective, duties test. States that are unable to substantially raise the salary threshold (say, to the 40th percentile of salaried earnings or higher) would need to revert to a more rigorous duties test. California, for example, has enacted a more protective duties test than the federal standard.

EARN and Economic Policy Institute Resources

The EARN staff at EPI and the network of state EARN affiliates are available to support organizations and officials who are interested in taking action on overtime policy. The Economic Policy Institute has a broad array of policy, data, and legal resources, as well as social media and communications assets that can support state efforts on this and other economic issues. Please contact us at earn@epi.org for further information.

Endnotes

1. I assume we need some caveats and we can put them in the footnote here.

2. This “white collar exemption” is in the statute, FLSA section 13(a)(1) but the statute delegates authority to the U.S. Secretary of Labor to define the terms and scope of the exemption, which is done in the regulations. Exempt workers are not technically ineligible for overtime pay because there is no law stopping their employers from providing it to them. The critical fact—and why they are described as ineligible for automatic overtime protection—is that their employers cannot be required to provide overtime pay to exempt workers.

3. Research Series on Deciles of Usual Weekly Earnings of Nonhourly Full-Time Workers,” Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, last updated July 19 2017.

4. Authors’ analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata, various years.

5. U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, “Fact Sheet #17A: Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer & Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Acts (FLSA),” revised July 2008.

Table 1

Deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly fulltime workers 2016 and 2017Q2

Deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly full-time workers, 2017Q2
First decile Second decile Third decile Fourth decile Fifth decile (median) Sixth decile Seventh decile Eighth decile Ninth decile
US $552 $724 $873 $1,019 $1,174 $1,375 $1,639 $1,951 $2,666
REGION
Northeast 585 755 932 1,096 1,254 1,450 1,739 2,057 2,710
Midwest 587 744 901 1,017 1,154 1,345 1,546 1,906 2,499
South 502 664 796 931 1,086 1,260 1,495 1,882 2,509
West 596 772 975 1,154 1,357 1,567 1,869 2,242 2,900
Deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly full-time workers, 2016
STATE First decile Second decile Third decile Fourth decile Fifth decile (median) Sixth decile Seventh decile Eighth decile >Ninth decile
AK 577 804 961 1,116 1,250 1,403 1,635 1,913 2,460
AL 500 672 791 921 1,019 1,153 1,384 1,723 2,274
AR 477 632 743 830 961 1,099 1,250 1,531 2,058
AZ 565 747 884 980 1,153 1,346 1,577 1,907 2,330
CA 574 768 960 1,153 1,346 1,541 1,921 2,307 2,884
CO 575 755 884 999 1,154 1,346 1,538 1,916 2,514
CT 672 904 1,086 1,247 1,399 1,621 1,916 2,296 2,884
DC 657 884 1,057 1,250 1,437 1,692 1,942 2,403 2,884
DE 499 694 831 961 1,098 1,292 1,533 1,850 2,325
FL 460 608 744 864 984 1,153 1,384 1,728 2,308
GA 480 666 771 942 1,096 1,247 1,490 1,846 2,422
HI 493 652 769 920 1,058 1,235 1,438 1,730 2,274
IA 538 692 802 961 1,062 1,230 1,373 1,634 2,090
ID 499 647 771 904 1,091 1,250 1,442 1,681 2,268
IL 574 763 903 1,042 1,192 1,441 1,664 2,036 2,832
IN 520 680 825 960 1,077 1,236 1,442 1,635 2,175
KS 577 731 865 995 1,153 1,342 1,536 1,918 2,614
KY 481 644 769 902 994 1,151 1,330 1,538 2,115
LA 480 600 762 870 995 1,153 1,346 1,662 2,234
MA 646 855 998 1,153 1,346 1,539 1,826 2,275 2,884
MD 577 807 997 1,154 1,345 1,538 1,812 2,211 2,786
ME 552 731 848 962 1,133 1,240 1,442 1,808 2,403
MI 577 769 958 1,057 1,247 1,387 1,598 1,909 2,403
MN 670 834 1,000 1,154 1,346 1,538 1,839 2,211 2,756
MO 561 673 800 961 1,058 1,239 1,478 1,749 2,298
MS 398 576 722 841 949 1,058 1,247 1,521 1,995
MT 494 692 808 946 1,116 1,245 1,485 1,890 2,444
NC 481 672 769 923 1,037 1,247 1,493 1,904 2,490
ND 536 692 788 916 999 1,151 1,249 1,538 1,922
NE 530 676 800 921 1,026 1,153 1,307 1,539 2,046
NH 622 772 955 1,110 1,250 1,457 1,720 1,960 2,569
NJ 560 771 961 1,114 1,283 1,497 1,732 2,076 2,872
NM 472 623 769 891 999 1,185 1,442 1,730 2,306
NV 484 646 830 945 1,076 1,250 1,384 1,730 2,183
NY 497 700 864 998 1,154 1,385 1,635 1,970 2,718
OH 577 750 921 999 1,154 1,346 1,538 1,826 2,307
OK 480 600 694 851 962 1,126 1,327 1,572 2,207
OR 576 767 914 1,057 1,248 1,461 1,730 2,007 2,692
PA 577 759 901 1,015 1,188 1,346 1,538 1,903 2,496
RI 599 769 922 1,068 1,231 1,346 1,535 1,802 2,299
SC 490 670 799 922 1,038 1,154 1,440 1,730 2,308
SD 577 695 823 942 1,025 1,154 1,346 1,547 2,304
TN 506 655 769 904 989 1,151 1,354 1,634 2,133
TX 462 624 769 920 1,019 1,192 1,442 1,846 2,451
UT 576 730 908 1,050 1,192 1,411 1,570 1,907 2,504
VA 542 734 892 1,039 1,248 1,470 1,733 2,115 2,850
VT 585 769 884 994 1,152 1,281 1,443 1,806 2,308
WA 612 807 981 1,154 1,346 1,539 1,908 2,308 2,884
WI 602 807 961 1,058 1,211 1,346 1,538 1,901 2,447
WV 478 603 731 865 986 1,136 1,288 1,529 2,036
WY 482 692 856 961 1,058 1,236 1,488 1,840 2,301

Note: The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The South region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The West region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Source: US and region data can be found on the BLS website: https://www.bls.gov/cps/research_series_earnings_nonhourly_workers.htm. Latest data available from BLS at the time of this writing are 2017Q2. Deciles by state are not available on the BLS website and are tabulated by EPI. Due to sample size issues at the state level we used the entire calendar year of 2016.

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Table 2

Annualized deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly fulltime workers 2016 and 2017Q2

Deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly full-time workers, 2017Q2
First decile Second decile Third decile Fourth decile Fifth decile (median) Sixth decile Seventh decile Eighth decile Ninth decile
US $28,704 $37,648 $45,396 $52,988 $61,048 $71,500 $85,228 $101,452 $138,632
REGION
Northeast $30,420 $39,260 $48,464 $56,992 $65,208 $75,400 $90,428 $106,964 $140,920
Midwest $30,524 $38,688 $46,852 $52,884 $60,008 $69,940 $80,392 $99,112 $129,948
South $26,104 $34,528 $41,392 $48,412 $56,472 $65,520 $77,740 $97,864 $130,468
West $30,992 $40,144 $50,700 $60,008 $70,564 $81,484 $97,188 $116,584 $150,800
Deciles of weekly earnings of nonhourly full-time workers, 2016
STATE First decile Second decile Third decile Fourth decile Fifth decile (median) Sixth decile Seventh decile Eighth decile Ninth decile
AK $29,979 $41,832 $49,994 $58,015 $64,974 $72,955 $84,997 $99,481 $127,896
AL $26,002 $34,935 $41,153 $47,915 $53,005 $59,963 $71,975 $89,617 $118,232
AR $24,808 $32,857 $38,619 $43,175 $49,964 $57,122 $64,993 $79,597 $107,000
AZ $29,374 $38,867 $45,956 $50,972 $59,968 $70,003 $81,995 $99,144 $121,136
CA $29,836 $39,918 $49,931 $59,973 $70,010 $80,109 $99,900 $119,953 $149,977
CO $29,912 $39,286 $45,986 $51,967 $59,994 $70,007 $79,995 $99,656 $130,753
CT $34,931 $46,995 $56,488 $64,819 $72,731 $84,298 $99,652 $119,400 $149,977
DC $34,149 $45,983 $54,979 $64,995 $74,720 $87,995 $100,991 $124,980 $149,982
DE $25,968 $36,097 $43,187 $49,992 $57,121 $67,173 $79,716 $96,216 $120,892
FL $23,920 $31,619 $38,683 $44,929 $51,143 $59,965 $71,944 $89,872 $120,009
GA $24,977 $34,622 $40,070 $49,002 $57,005 $64,846 $77,494 $96,001 $125,957
HI $25,627 $33,879 $40,000 $47,845 $55,009 $64,234 $74,783 $89,979 $118,224
IA $27,990 $35,991 $41,719 $49,963 $55,232 $63,984 $71,379 $84,991 $108,691
ID $25,956 $33,623 $40,117 $46,988 $56,742 $64,997 $74,998 $87,411 $117,938
IL $29,860 $39,665 $46,964 $54,187 $61,999 $74,950 $86,522 $105,879 $147,277
IN $27,040 $35,345 $42,917 $49,930 $55,991 $64,253 $74,994 $84,998 $113,109
KS $29,993 $37,987 $44,992 $51,765 $59,979 $69,768 $79,851 $99,720 $135,947
KY $24,998 $33,514 $40,005 $46,887 $51,693 $59,857 $69,140 $79,988 $109,999
LA $24,967 $31,204 $39,645 $45,228 $51,759 $59,978 $70,010 $86,406 $116,191
MA $33,607 $44,456 $51,884 $59,981 $70,002 $80,006 $94,964 $118,315 $149,977
MD $29,988 $41,974 $51,860 $59,989 $69,950 $79,996 $94,229 $114,986 $144,857
ME $28,727 $38,001 $44,114 $50,000 $58,915 $64,485 $74,981 $94,000 $124,968
MI $30,009 $39,997 $49,791 $54,983 $64,834 $72,143 $83,101 $99,291 $124,976
MN $34,845 $43,379 $51,979 $59,984 $70,001 $79,991 $95,609 $114,990 $143,316
MO $29,184 $34,988 $41,581 $49,981 $55,007 $64,406 $76,871 $90,965 $119,512
MS $20,686 $29,954 $37,564 $43,751 $49,340 $54,990 $64,830 $79,108 $103,718
MT $25,663 $35,994 $42,004 $49,168 $58,006 $64,760 $77,209 $98,263 $127,064
NC $24,993 $34,945 $40,006 $47,988 $53,930 $64,835 $77,646 $99,022 $129,462
ND $27,897 $35,996 $40,996 $47,622 $51,971 $59,849 $64,946 $79,977 $99,969
NE $27,573 $35,135 $41,589 $47,868 $53,362 $59,974 $67,983 $80,008 $106,372
NH $32,355 $40,123 $49,658 $57,716 $64,994 $75,768 $89,424 $101,895 $133,608
NJ $29,113 $40,075 $49,986 $57,924 $66,704 $77,827 $90,039 $107,936 $149,340
NM $24,551 $32,404 $39,997 $46,355 $51,966 $61,594 $74,996 $89,974 $119,902
NV $25,147 $33,606 $43,139 $49,138 $55,927 $64,994 $71,980 $89,982 $113,495
NY $25,852 $36,388 $44,930 $51,890 $59,989 $71,998 $84,999 $102,458 $141,348
OH $29,978 $39,005 $47,908 $51,962 $59,984 $70,003 $79,984 $94,965 $119,978
OK $24,967 $31,202 $36,094 $44,238 $50,001 $58,566 $69,026 $81,721 $114,779
OR $29,959 $39,859 $47,522 $54,984 $64,912 $75,984 $89,974 $104,338 $139,995
PA $29,997 $39,458 $46,838 $52,802 $61,801 $70,010 $79,996 $98,951 $129,780
RI $31,130 $40,006 $47,954 $55,549 $64,033 $70,011 $79,795 $93,729 $119,537
SC $25,462 $34,846 $41,529 $47,929 $54,000 $59,989 $74,855 $89,974 $119,998
SD $29,984 $36,122 $42,790 $48,996 $53,308 $59,988 $70,007 $80,465 $119,809
TN $26,299 $34,060 $40,006 $46,996 $51,427 $59,854 $70,410 $84,987 $110,926
TX $23,998 $32,453 $39,998 $47,844 $52,999 $61,993 $74,994 $96,008 $127,435
UT $29,961 $37,983 $47,207 $54,601 $61,999 $73,393 $81,655 $99,146 $130,225
VA $28,199 $38,143 $46,396 $54,005 $64,897 $76,465 $90,097 $109,990 $148,197
VT $30,445 $39,995 $45,965 $51,681 $59,910 $66,596 $75,053 $93,893 $120,001
WA $31,806 $41,984 $51,000 $59,989 $70,003 $80,005 $99,206 $119,999 $149,977
WI $31,285 $41,979 $49,968 $55,009 $62,986 $70,009 $79,997 $98,846 $127,233
WV $24,849 $31,352 $38,011 $44,992 $51,268 $59,062 $67,000 $79,504 $105,891
WY $25,040 $35,999 $44,534 $49,979 $54,990 $64,293 $77,361 $95,664 $119,673

Note: The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The South region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The West region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Source: US and region data can be found on the BLS website: https://www.bls.gov/cps/research_series_earnings_nonhourly_workers.htm. Latest data available from BLS at the time of this writing are 2017Q2. Deciles by state are not available on the BLS website and are tabulated by EPI. Due to sample size issues at the state level we used the entire calendar year of 2016.

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States with unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher by race

Despite small positive signs, the nation remains in a period of very high unemployment. While all groups are experiencing significant economic hardship, the burden of high unemployment is not spread uniformly by race. Figure A shows the states where whites, Latinos, and blacks have unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher. In the third quarter of 2011, whites experienced this level of unemployment only in California and Nevada. Latinos, however, had unemployment rates at or above 10 percent in 14 states, while this was the case for blacks in 25 states. Blacks also have the misfortune of having unemployment rates above 20 percent in five states.

Figure A

States with white, Latino, and black unemployment rates of 10% or higher, third quarter, 2011, and projected fourth quarter, 2012

(Red highlighting indicates an unemployment rate over 20%)

Note: Based on states with sufficient data by race for reliable estimates

Sources: EPI estimates based on data from the Current Population Survey and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and December 2011 projections from Moody’s Economy.com

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In the fourth quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate for each race in nearly every state is projected to remain very similar to the level recorded in the third quarter of 2011. The white unemployment rate in California is projected to fall from 10 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, dropping it out of the 10-percent-or-above states for whites in Figure A.

For Latinos and African Americans, the states with unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher in the third quarter of 2011 are projected to have similarly high unemployment rates at the end of 2012.

However, the states with black unemployment rates above 20 percent are projected to change slightly by the fourth quarter of 2012. The black unemployment rate in California is projected to decline from 21.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 18.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. For blacks, the rate in Ohio is also expected to fall below 20 percent, while the rate in Indiana is projected to rise above 20 percent; however, in both states, the change is too small to be considered meaningful.

Conclusion

EPI economist Heidi Shierholz noted recently that “even at January’s growth rate, it would still take until 2019 to get back to full employment.” Current projections show that state unemployment rates by race will remain largely unchanged throughout 2012. To avoid this scenario, Congress should pass the American Jobs Act to help accelerate the rate of economic recovery.

This issue brief is supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations

Methodology

The unemployment rate estimates in this issue brief are based on the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall state unemployment rate is taken directly from the LAUS. CPS six-month ratios are applied to LAUS data to calculate the rates by race and ethnicity. For each state subgroup, we calculate the unemployment rate using the past six months of CPS data. We then find the ratio of this subgroup rate to the state unemployment rate using the same period of CPS data. This gives us an estimate of how the subgroup compares to the state overall.

For our projections, we use the same method but modify it slightly. We find the subgroup state ratios from the most recent six months of data, and then multiply this ratio by the projected state unemployment rate for a given quarter.

In many states, the sample size of these subgroups is not large enough to create an accurate estimate of their unemployment rate. We only report data for groups which had, on average, a sample size of at least 700 in the labor force for each six-month period.

Reference

Shierholz, Heidi. 2012. “U.S. Labor Market Starts 2012 with Solid Positive Signs but Fewer Jobs than It Had 11 Years Ago.” Economic Policy Institute Economic Indicators, February 3. http://www.epi.org/publication/labor-market-starts-2012-solid-positive/


See related work on Race and Ethnicity

See more work by Algernon Austin