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Monday, May 2, 2011

Joblessness for African-Americans in Michigan, higher than Caucasians, by double-digits

MIAMI - MARCH 27:  Gregory Tai, who lost his j... Image by Getty Images 
new research brief from the Economic Policy Institute, cites that the pain of joblessness in Michigan has been particularly harsh for the African American community.

Sadly, in Michigan African-Americans have experienced unemployment rates either 20 percent or higher in virtually every quarter since early 2009; including holding on to a 2010 annual unemployment rate of 23.4 percent. 

In a stark and shocking contrast, Caucasian unemployment rates in the state declined from a peak of 12.7 percent during the last quarter of 2009 to 9.5 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

To add further evidence that the recession that began in late 2007 has impacted this minority group in 2008, the 12.2 percent jobless rate for African-Americans closely matched the 12.7 recession’s rate in 2009 for Caucasians, in the state.

One key employment segment which can be directly tied to the increasing jobless rates for African-Americans in Michigan is the consolidation of the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, LLC. In 2009, Seven General Motors plants closed in Michigan, including towns will high-to-medium African-American populations Ypsilanti, Pontiac and Flint. 
"One of the engines of the black middle class has been the auto sector," says John Schmitt, an economist who studies the issue at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, to USA Today. 
"In the late 1970s, one of every 50 African Americans in the U.S. was working in the auto sector. These jobs were the best jobs. Particularly for African Americans who had migrated from the South, these were the culmination of a long upward trajectory of economic mobility."
Ironically in 2010, Michigan’s African American unemployment rate was 47 percent higher than the 15.9 percent national average of unemployment for African Americans.
"The Michigan economy has a long way to go to a solid recovery. With the future of the U.S. auto industry remaining precarious, Michigan’s economic future will continue to be fragile for some time," stated in the Economic Policy Institute report.  
"The pain and uncertainty of the Great Recession has been felt disproportionately by Michigan’s African-American workforce. Until the Michigan economy gets solidly on track, these disparities are likely to persist."

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