In a state-by-state breakdown of unemployment rates by race and ethnicity for the second quarter of 2018, Economic Analyst Janelle Jones shows that the low national unemployment rate has yet to translate to low unemployment among black and Hispanic workers.
From April to June of this year, black unemployment exceeded 6 percent in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and Hispanic unemployment was at or above 5 percent in 12 states. Of the states for which data are available, the highest African American unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2018 was in the District of Columbia (12.4 percent), followed by Illinois (9.0 percent), New York (8.1 percent), and South Carolina (8.1 percent). The highest Hispanic state unemployment rate was in Connecticut (8.2 percent). Meanwhile, the highest white state unemployment rate was only 5.1 percent, in West Virginia.
“These data tell a familiar story. While the national unemployment rate was less than 4.0 percent throughout the second quarter of the year, unemployment rates for African American and Hispanic workers were, in some states, double that,” said Jones. “It is crucial that policymakers work to drive the unemployment rate even lower if black and Hispanic workers in every state are going to share in our country’s economic prosperity.”
While the African American unemployment rate is at or below its pre-recession level in 17 states (of the 23 states and the District of Columbia for which these data are available), in 10 states and D.C., the African American unemployment rate is still at least double the white unemployment rate. In four states and D.C., Hispanic unemployment rates exceed white unemployment rates by 2-to-1 or higher.
Nationally, in the second quarter of 2018, African American workers had the highest unemployment rate, at 6.4 percent, followed by Hispanic (4.7 percent), white (3.2 percent), and Asian workers (2.9 percent).