Ron Gilbert, Alabama ARISE
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit Washington, D.C. think tank, provides a state-by-state analysis of the unemployment rate beginning with the fourth quarter of 2007, the beginning of the current recession, and projecting through the second quarter of 2010. According to EPI, the national unemployment average for the fourth quarter of ’07 was 4.8%; EPI projects the unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2010 will be 9.8%. While all categories of workers have seen job losses, minorities in many states are bearing the brunt of this recession in terms of unemployment.
Alabama, during most of this decade, has enjoyed a robust economy with the unemployment rate generally at least a full percentage point below the national figure. But since 2007, Alabama has seen its unemployment rate rise from 3.7% to 8.4% in the first quarter of the current year, and EPIprojects the unemployment rate to reach 10.5% in early 2010. While there have always been discrepancies between unemployment rates for white and minority groups, this gap widened considerably during the current recession. In late 2007, white Alabama workers had an unemployment rate only 2.3% better than black workers. By early 2009, that gap had grown to 9.3%, and is projected to grow to 13.7%.
While Alabama has shifted from having one of the smallest disparities between white and black unemployment rates to one of the greatest, other states in the south have seen similar increases.EPI projects that Alabama’s unemployment rate for African Americans will hit 19% in early 2010. To be effective, policy makers must pay attention to those groups that have disporportionately impacted during this recession, and develop programs and policies that address these inequities.
To view the full report, including the state-by-state data, go here.