Groups Most at Risk From Unemployment

In good times as well as bad, the risk of unemployment is much greater among minorities, young workers, and the disabled than among whites. In 2000, when  unemployment was the lowest in 30 years, nearly 8% of African Americans were unemployed–nearly as high as the overall rate in 2009, when the problem for the general population was reaching crisis proportions. What is a crisis for the general population is an ongoing crisis for African Americans.

Hispanics also experience high rates of unemployment, though not as severely as African Americans, but they are even more likely to be in low-wage work.

The high unemployment suffered by young workers is deeply discouraging at the beginning of their work lives, and words fail in attempting to describe the joblessness of black teens. Too many young American– of all races and ethnicities—foresee a future without good jobs. Disabled people, despite efforts in recent years to reduce barriers to their unemployment, are very highly disadvantaged in the labor market.

As disproportionate as is the risk of unemployment, the problem is suffered by millions of white Americans. In fact, the number of unemployed whites is 56% higher than the number of unemployed blacks and  Hispanics combined (October 2015).

Official Unemployment by demographic characteristics