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Unemployment hit minorities, young people hard in 2011

A job-seeker looks over job listings at NYS

A job-seeker looks over job listings at NYS Department of Labor Employment Services office. (Getty) Photo Credit: A job-seeker looks over job listings at NYS Department of Labor Employment Services office. (Getty)

Blacks, Hispanics and younger New Yorkers had the hardest time finding a job in the waning months of 2011, according to data released Wednesday by City Comptroller John Liu's office.

Among African-Americans, the jobless rate for the fourth quarter of 2011 was 13.6%, compared to 7.8% for whites, according to the data. The rate for Hispanics was an even 10%, and for city residents ages 16-24 the rate is 16.5%.

While some of the rates are down from the same period in 2010, Liu said the "city should clearly set fiscal policy to expand opportunities for minority and women-owned" businesses.

"We must level the playing field and close these employment gaps, because they undermine the health of entire neighborhoods and threaten our economic future," Liu said in a news release

The data, however, isn't a surprise, as this is the trend unemployment has followed for decades, according economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Going back as far back as the data goes, the rates for blacks and Hispanics have generally always been above whites" for decades, said Martin Kohli, an economist for the BLS. "The fact that the rates are higher among these groups is not news."

Numbers: Unemployment during the fourth quarter of 2011:

New York City overall: 9.7%

16-24 years old: 16.5%
25-54 years old: 9.8%
55 years and older: 5.2%

African-American: 13.6%
White: 7.8%
Hispanic: 10.0%
Asian and other: 7.4%

Bronx: 12.6%
Brooklyn: 11.6%
Manhattan: 6.4%
Queens: 8.4%
Staten Island: 12.4%


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