Friday, April 19, 2024

Minorities Affected Most by Economic Crisis

A report by the Center for American Progress entitled “The State of Minorities: Recession Issue” demonstrates that minorities have been hit the hardest out of all Americans undergoing the economic crisis, especially because of fewer employment opportunities available to them.

Traditionally, minority workers have had fewer job opportunities and lower wages, leaving them with lower incomes and slower income growth. Consequentially, minorities are less established financially. In data released by the Center for American Progress, unemployment rates for minorities were substantially higher than those for whites in December 2008.

In December 2008, unemployment rates for minorities were considerably higher than those for whites.(This is a repeat of the previous sentence.) The unemployment rate for African Americans went to 11.5 percent, compared to 8.9 percent for Hispanics, and 6.3 percent for whites. Minorities were 40 percent more likely than whites to experience unemployment at the end of 2008.

Although the unemployment rate rose for all groups, it increased faster for minorities than for whites. The unemployment rate for whites rose by 2.1 percentage points, to 6.3 percent in December 2008 from 4.2 percent in December 2007, while the unemployment rate for African Americans grew by 2.9 percentage points and that of Hispanics rose by 3.1 percentage points during the same time period. By and large, the increase in unemployment rates for minorities was at least 38.1 percent larger than that for whites.

In 2008, employment for African Americans and for Hispanics declined by 1.9 percent, while it dropped by 1.6 percent for whites. The large employment gains for Hispanics were in isolated industries such as construction, hotels and restaurants. From March 2001 to December 2007, employment for Hispanics rose by an annualized rate of 3.6 percent.  Even though these were employment gains, they were not enough to close the unemployment gap between Hispanics and whites.

Large earnings gaps continue among whites and minorities. The media weekly earnings for Hispanics average at $529.00 in the third quarter of 2008, while whites’ were $696.33.  Large disparities in health insurance coverage also persist. In 2007, 10.4 percent of whites lacked health insurance coverage, while 32.1 percent of Hispanics did. In 2007, the white homeownership rate stood at 75.2 percent, compared to only 49.7 percent for Hispanics. The African-American homeownership rate stood at 47.2 percent.

Center for American Progress