RECORD-HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT MORE DRASTIC FOR MINORITY WORKERS




July 07 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jul 7, 2009

Contact:
Jackeline Stewart
(202) 785-1670

Washington, DC—Nearly six months after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law, June unemployment reached an overall 26-year high of 9.5%. Minority workers have been disproportionately affected by the recession, with unemployment topping nearly 15% for African Americans and nearly 13% for Latinos in recent months.

“Latino and African American workers have seen the worst of this recession,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. “Though the outlook may seem bleak, minority communities are invested in the promising deceleration of unemployment.”

“The slowing pace of job losses is a welcome relief and an indicator that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is effectively stimulating the economy,” said Christian Dorsey, Director of Communication at the Economic Policy Institute. “Unfortunately, the number of jobs it saves or creates pales in comparison to what we’ve lost. There are fewer jobs now than there were nine years ago, and in that time almost 13 million have been added to the labor force, and a greater share of individuals is unemployed long-term than at any point on record. The scale of the problem, so acute in many minority communities seeing unemployment rates into the high teens, means that more federal intervention is needed to ease the pain of families.”

Heather Boushey, Senior Economist for the Center for American Progress said, “The labor market picture remains grim for workers from all backgrounds. While employers are shedding jobs at a slower pace than they did this winter, unemployment continues to plague millions of families and will not come back down until the economy begins to experience strong economic growth, which is many months, if not years, away. While families everywhere struggle with higher unemployment and fewer hours, African American and Hispanic families continue to see higher unemployment than White families, alongside large losses in equity from the nationwide decline in home prices and record rates of foreclosure. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is pumping billions of dollars into communities nationwide and we are beginning to see the fruits of that effort as the pace of job losses slows.”

Hilary Shelton, Vice President for Advocacy/Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, commented, “Since its very inception, the NAACP has recognized that the unemployment rate for racial and ethnic minorities is always higher than it is for White Americans. The data for racial and ethnic minorities are conservative estimates and do not even capture the true extent of joblessness in these communities.”

For more information, visit www.nclr.org.

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