Press Release Black Unemployment Jobs Poverty

The High Black Employment Rate Nationally Obscures Differences at the State Level

June 18, 2024

Contact: Eleonora Piergallini, 202-293-5380 x112Mail_Outline

Washington, DC — Although Black employment is currently the highest in a generation, things look different at the state level. A fresh analysis by CEPR’s Director of Race and Economic Justice Algernon Austin finds that the states with the largest prime-age Black jobs deficits were New York, Illinois, and Michigan. Only in Delaware and Kentucky did both prime-age Black men and women have comparable employment rates to their white peers. 

The prime-age Black population of New York needed an additional 91,700 jobs to have the same employment rate as their white peers. In Illinois, it was 73,100 jobs, and, in Michigan, it was 61,500. (It is important to understand that the overall size of the Black population in a state will affect the size of the Black jobs deficit.) 

The analysis also looks at the difference in the Black jobs deficit between genders. Prime-age Black women had employment rates comparable to white women in 19 states. Prime-age Black men had employment rates comparable to white men in only two states. In 17 states, the Black jobs deficit was solely due to joblessness among Black men. 

“When the national average unemployment rate is low, a targeted, well designed, and implemented jobs program can help communities still facing high rates of joblessness,” said Austin. “A few years of subsidized employment could more than pay for itself.”


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