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New Report: Michigan Has Nation’s Third Highest Unemployment Rate for African Americans

At 15.8 percent, Michigan trails only Wisconsin and Nevada

LANSING – At 15.8 percent, Michigan had the nation’s third highest unemployment rate for African Americans in 2014, according to a new analysis from Economic Policy Institute economist Valerie Wilson. In Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks Out of the Recession-carved Crater, Wilson uses a unique analysis of Current Population Survey data and Local Area Unemployment Statistics program data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity in over 30 states.

In 2014, the annual black unemployment rate was highest in Wisconsin (19.9 percent), followed by Nevada (16.1 percent), Michigan (15.8 percent), and the District of Columbia (15.7 percent), out of 30 states for which data was available. Though black unemployment significantly declined in 15 states and the employment-to-population ratio increased in six states, African Americans have returned to pre-recession unemployment rates in just two states—Connecticut and South Carolina.

“The unemployment rate for African Americans in Michigan is at a crisis level,” said Karla Swift, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Instead of giving tax breaks to big corporations that send jobs overseas, we need our elected officials to implement targeted policies to ensure that everyone in Michigan who is willing and able to work has a job.”

Michigan’s black unemployment rate is over twice as high as the highest state white unemployment rate—which is 7.0 percent in Nevada—and is significantly higher than the national black unemployment rate of 11 percent.

Despite projections that the black unemployment rate will drop significantly by the end of 2015, African Americans in Michigan are still further from a full recovery than whites or Hispanics.

A copy of the EPI report can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1CPDuyz

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