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Unemployed and Black in New York

Posted: Aug 21, 2012

For many Black New Yorkers, the recession never ended.

“If you are a Black New Yorker who’s unemployed, you better be prepared to be unemployed for upwards of six months to a year,” Michelle Holder, senior labor market analyst for the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), told the AmNews. Holder and CSS were discussing the lessons that could be deduced from their recent report, “Women, Blacks and Older Workers Struggle in Post-Recession New York City.”

Holder said that Blacks in New York, once unemployed, have to “prepare for the long haul” and make sure they have enough to handle long-term unemployment. “Especially if you’re an older Black woman,” Holder said.

According to the overall report, this past June there were over 380,000 unemployed city residents, which was about 200,000 more than in December 2007, the beginning of the recession. “Half of these individuals were among the long-term unemployed, defined as being out of work for more than six months,” the report said. “By comparison, 30 percent of unemployed New Yorkers were out of work long-term in 2006, before the recession.”

Between 2009 and 2011, New York City lost about 20,000 public sector jobs, and the report concluded that this had a disproportionate impact on the city’s women and ethnic minorities.

“During this time, women comprised 61 percent of the city’s public sector workforce and minorities comprised 65 percent,” read the report. However, the recovery hasn’t been much of one for Black New Yorkers.

The CSS report states that while the unemployment rate for Blacks fell from 2009 to 2011, like it did overall for New Yorkers, once they’re unemployed, Blacks should expect to be out of work for an average of 11 months. “Among racial and ethnic groups last year, Black New Yorkers had the longest average duration of unemployment and the highest percentage of those who have been out of work long-term—58 percent,” the report read.

Read the rest here.

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