Wisconsin has Highest Black Unemployment Rate in the Nation

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March 26, 2015

Contact: Laura Dresser | 608-262-6944 | ldresser@cows.org

Madison – At 19.9 percent, Wisconsin had the nation’s highest unemployment rate for African Americans in 2014, according to a new analysis from Economic Policy Institute. In Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks Out of the Recession-carved Crater, author Valerie 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.


Wisconsin’s black unemployment rate 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 Wisconsin are still further from a full recovery than whites or Hispanics.


“Wisconsin’s African American unemployment rate is a crisis, and a call to action,” said Laura Dresser, Associate Director for COWS.  “As a state, we need to do more to extend opportunity, ensure that African Americans can connect to jobs, and close this ruinous racial gap.”


In 2014, the annual black unemployment rate was highest in Wisconsin, 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.


View full report here: http://www.epi.org/publication/projected-decline-in-unemployment-in-2015-wont-lift-blacks-out-of-the-recession-carved-crater/


For a more complete picture of Wisconsin’s extreme racial disparity and joblessness, see also: