Report: Black Unemployment Remained Steady in 2011

A new study by UC Berkeley credits the recession and loss of public sector jobs as reasons the rate stayed relatively constant. 

Posted: 01/19/2012 12:10 PM EST

Months have passed, the weather has changed, but Black unemployment has remained steady.

According to a new study by UC Berkeley, the Annual Report: Black Employment and Unemployment in 2011, over the last year the unemployment rate for African-Americans has stayed almost exactly the same. Overall in 2011, Americans saw a decreasing unemployment rate dropping from 9.1 percent in January 2011 to 8.5 percent in December. For African-Americans, however, in January 2011, the unemployment rate stood at 15.7 percent and in December, it was 15.8 percent.

Despite changes in underlying factors of unemployment, including employment level and the number of people in the labor force, there was virtually “no movement” in African-American’s official rate.

“The jobs gap between Black and white workers is a story that we’ve seen for more than 50 years, but this report shows that unemployment rates for Black workers have not fallen as much as they have for their white and Latino counterparts,” said Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at the center and author of the report.

According to the report, many factors have contributed to the stubbornly high unemployment rate of Blacks, including the loss of public sector jobs. Since the beginning of the recession, at least 600,000 public sector jobs have been sacrificed for budget cuts. As a result, because “about one in five Black workers have public sector jobs, and African-American workers are one-third more likely than white ones to be employed in the public sector,” it’s no surprise that layoffs have fallen the heaviest on Blacks.

Economists also point to the younger age of the African-American workforce, the larger number living in low-income areas hit hard by the recession and the lower number of college graduates as reasons the rate remains high.

Whatever the reason, let’s hope that 2012 yields better opportunity for all.

 BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world.

Videos You May Like

 (Photo: Jim Baron/MCT/Landov)


Sports Rewind: Mayweather to Face Alvarez in September

Plus, Grizzlies' Quincy Pondexter nabs date on Twitter. 05/30/2013

Global Week in Review: Nelson Mandela’s Daughter Speaks Out

Plus, Chinua Achebe is honored at his funeral in Nigeria. 05/30/2013

BET Wire: Holder Under Fire; Bye-Bye Bachmann, Hello West

Plus, more political news from the Beltway and beyond. 05/31/2013

Out and About: Jay-Z Celebrates Roc Nation Sports

Plus pics of Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Oprah and more. 05/31/2013

Instagram Photos of the Week: Rihanna on the Rebound?

Plus pics from Angela Simmons, Ciara and Rick Ross. 05/31/2013

Best Dressed of the Week: Willow Looks All Grown Up

Plus, Kerry in Calvin Klein, Zendaya in Prada and more. 05/31/2013