Asian American unemployment highest in Nevada and California; disadvantages in four states

In the fourth quarter of last year, Nevada and California had the highest Asian American unemployment rates of the ten states with sufficient Asian American data for analysis. The Asian American unemployment rate in Nevada was 8.4 percent and 7.8 percent in California. The lowest Asian American unemployment rates were in New Jersey (4.2 percent) and Hawaii (4.5 percent). Rates for all ten states (and for other racial groups) can be found in this interactive feature.

Although we have data for only ten states, these ten states contain more than two-thirds of the Asian American labor force (see Figure D). Nearly half of all Asian American workers reside in California, New York, and Texas alone. Because Asian Americans are quite diverse socioeconomically, it would be useful to disaggregate the data by Asian ethnic group, but a number of data issues make disaggregation not feasible.

In four states—California, Florida, Maryland, and Texas—the Asian American unemployment rate is higher than one might expect. Generally, more educated populations have lower unemployment rates. In these four states, although data from the American Community Survey indicates that the Asian American labor force is better educated than the white labor force, the Asian American unemployment rate is equal to or higher than the white rate. Further research is necessary to understand why Asian Americans have such high unemployment rates in these states.