Unemployment nearing Great Depression levels for African Americans and Latinos

Below are the findings of a new report compiled by the Economic Policy Institute of the impact of the recession on 50 major U.S. cities:

* In 2009, the national annual unemployment rate was 9.3%. Five of the 50 largest metropolitan areas had unemployment rates over 11.3%—2 percentage points above the national rate—while seven experienced rates that were less than 7.3%—2 percentage points below the national rate.
* Only one metro area had a white unemployment rate above 11.3% (Detroit, 13.8%). Nine metro areas had a Hispanic unemployment rate above 11.3%, and 14 had a black unemployment rate above that level.
* No metropolitan area had a black unemployment rate below 7.3%, and only two areas had Hispanic unemployment rates below 7.3%. Nearly half of the areas—24—had white unemployment rates below that level.
* In all but two metropolitan areas, the white unemployment rate was lower than the overall rate. For the 50 largest metropolitan areas, the average white unemployment rate is 0.8 times the overall rate.
* The Hispanic-white unemployment ratio was highest in Providence, R.I. In Providence the Hispanic unemployment rate was double the white rate, and the gap was 11.3 percentage points.
* The black-white unemployment ratio was highest in Minneapolis and Memphis. In these metropolitan areas, the black unemployment rate was three times the white rate.
* In many instances, disparities are visible in unemployment rates even when we compare racial subgroups with the same level of education. We need to ensure that nonwhites have equal employment opportunities in the labor market.

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