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Unemployment by Race
Definition

Ratio of the unemployment rate of the white, non-Hispanic labor force and labor force of color, 2014.

Description

This measure describes the disparity in unemployment between white workers and workers of color. Unemployment does not affect all races and ethnicities equally, and in every state but Hawaii and Vermont, people of color experience higher unemployment than whites. For example, the unemployment rate for workers of color in the District of Columbia is 4.4 times that for white workers.

There are many complex factors behind this disparity, but even when looking at workers with similar levels of education, disparities in joblessness persist. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, the unemployment rate for white workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 2.9%, but for Black or African-American and Hispanic workers with bachelor’s degrees, the rate was 5.2% and 3.9%, respectively.

To see the data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, click on the Data by Race tab below. For more information on racial disparities in unemployment, see the Economic Policy Institute.

In the United States, workers of color are 1.74 times as likely to be unemployed as white workers

Unemployment by Race, 2014

StateUnemployment Rate,
White Workers (%)
Unemployment Rate,
Workers of Color (%)
RatioRank
United States 4.9% 8.6% 1.74
Alabama 4.9% 11.7% 2.37 43
Alaska 5.7% 10.1% 1.76 27
Arizona 5.6% 8.9% 1.57 16
Arkansas 5.5% 7.4% 1.34 5
California 6.1% 8.6% 1.39 8
Colorado 4.1% 7.0% 1.72 23
Connecticut 5.3% 10.0% 1.88 29
Delaware 4.8% 8.3% 1.75 26
District of Columbia 2.8% 12.4% 4.39 51
Florida 5.1% 8.3% 1.63 17
Georgia 4.6% 10.9% 2.37 44
Hawaii 4.5% 4.4% 1.03 2
Idaho 4.3% 7.4% 1.71 22
Illinois 5.4% 10.2% 1.87 28
Indiana 5.4% 10.6% 1.97 34
Iowa 4.2% 8.3% 1.96 33
Kansas 4.0% 6.2% 1.56 14
Kentucky 6.3% 8.9% 1.42 9
Louisiana 4.3% 10.1% 2.36 42
Maine 5.4% 10.3% 1.91 31
Maryland 4.5% 7.1% 1.56 15
Massachusetts 4.7% 9.8% 2.08 36
Michigan 5.7% 12.3% 2.16 39
Minnesota 3.3% 8.9% 2.70 47
Mississippi 5.4% 11.8% 2.17 40
Missouri 5.0% 12.9% 2.56 46
Montana 4.1% 9.1% 2.21 41
Nebraska 2.6% 6.2% 2.43 45
Nevada 7.0% 8.7% 1.24 4
New Hampshire 4.1% 5.7% 1.39 7
New Jersey 5.6% 8.5% 1.53 13
New Mexico 4.4% 9.3% 2.13 38
New York 4.7% 8.9% 1.90 30
North Carolina 5.0% 8.4% 1.66 19
North Dakota 2.1% 8.7% 4.18 50
Ohio 4.8% 9.8% 2.06 35
Oklahoma 3.7% 6.5% 1.74 25
Oregon 6.5% 9.5% 1.47 12
Pennsylvania 5.0% 9.7% 1.95 32
Rhode Island 6.2% 12.9% 2.08 37
South Carolina 5.3% 9.3% 1.74 24
South Dakota 2.6% 10.0% 3.88 49
Tennessee 5.6% 9.2% 1.65 18
Texas 3.7% 6.2% 1.69 21
Utah 3.7% 5.0% 1.35 6
Vermont 4.2% 4.2% 1.00 1
Virginia 4.5% 6.6% 1.45 11
Washington 5.2% 8.7% 1.67 20
West Virginia 6.7% 7.8% 1.17 3
Wisconsin 4.2% 13.1% 3.12 48
Wyoming 4.2% 6.0% 1.43 10

Unemployment Rate, by Race and Ethnicity

Unemployment Rate (%)
StateWhitePeople of ColorBlackHispanic
United States 4.9% 8.6% 11.5% 7.5%
Alabama 4.9% 11.7% 12.2% 9.7%
Alaska 5.7% 10.1% 8.6% 10.0%
Arizona 5.6% 8.9% 4.7% 8.4%
Arkansas 5.5% 7.4% 10.0% 5.0%
California 6.1% 8.6% 14.1% 8.5%
Colorado 4.1% 7.0% 11.2% 6.2%
Connecticut 5.3% 10.0% 13.0% 10.9%
Delaware 4.8% 8.3% 9.3% 9.4%
District of Columbia 2.8% 12.4% 15.8% 3.9%
Florida 5.1% 8.3% 11.1% 6.8%
Georgia 4.6% 10.9% 12.8% 6.2%
Hawaii 4.5% 4.4% 10.2% 6.6%
Idaho 4.3% 7.4% 8.1%
Illinois 5.4% 10.2% 14.5% 8.1%
Indiana 5.4% 10.6% 13.5% 8.7%
Iowa 4.2% 8.3% 15.8% 8.6%
Kansas 4.0% 6.2% 7.9% 5.4%
Kentucky 6.3% 8.9% 9.8% 7.8%
Louisiana 4.3% 10.1% 10.5% 8.7%
Maine 5.4% 10.3% 10.7% 8.5%
Maryland 4.5% 7.1% 8.7% 5.6%
Massachusetts 4.7% 9.8% 10.9% 11.1%
Michigan 5.7% 12.3% 15.7% 8.7%
Minnesota 3.3% 8.9% 12.1% 7.2%
Mississippi 5.4% 11.8% 12.8% 7.2%
Missouri 5.0% 12.9% 14.5% 8.2%
Montana 4.1% 9.1% 9.1%
Nebraska 2.6% 6.2% 8.7% 5.7%
Nevada 7.0% 8.7% 16.2% 7.5%
New Hampshire 4.1% 5.7% 7.2% 10.1%
New Jersey 5.6% 8.5% 12.1% 7.6%
New Mexico 4.4% 9.3% 11.5% 7.6%
New York 4.7% 8.9% 11.1% 8.5%
North Carolina 5.0% 8.4% 10.2% 6.6%
North Dakota 2.1% 8.7% 12.2% 5.4%
Ohio 4.8% 9.8% 11.9% 6.0%
Oklahoma 3.7% 6.5% 7.3% 6.0%
Oregon 6.5% 9.5% 13.1% 9.7%
Pennsylvania 5.0% 9.7% 11.0% 9.8%
Rhode Island 6.2% 12.9% 11.5% 16.1%
South Carolina 5.3% 9.3% 10.0% 9.4%
South Dakota 2.6% 10.0% 11.9% 5.9%
Tennessee 5.6% 9.2% 11.4% 4.4%
Texas 3.7% 6.2% 9.6% 5.4%
Utah 3.7% 5.0% 4.4%
Vermont 4.2% 4.2% 4.1%
Virginia 4.5% 6.6% 8.0% 6.1%
Washington 5.2% 8.7% 14.2% 8.9%
West Virginia 6.7% 7.8% 10.5% 4.0%
Wisconsin 4.2% 13.1% 19.3% 8.7%
Wyoming 4.2% 6.0% 3.9%

"—" indicates that no data is available.

Estimates for White workers are generated for the White, non-Hispanic population. Likewise, estimates for Hispanic workers include all workers of Hispanic or Latino origin, regardless of race.

Change in Unemployment by Race

Annual Underemployment Rate by Race (Ratio)
State20102011201220132014
United States 1.62 1.72 1.66 1.67 1.74
Alabama 1.80 2.04 2.19 2.08 2.37
Alaska 1.58 1.63 1.69 1.81 1.76
Arizona 1.50 1.59 1.46 1.85 1.57
Arkansas 1.83 2.20 1.97 1.99 1.34
California 1.39 1.41 1.50 1.35 1.39
Colorado 1.74 1.70 1.66 1.79 1.72
Connecticut 1.96 2.04 1.77 1.70 1.88
Delaware 1.41 1.65 1.66 1.76 1.75
District of Columbia 6.03 4.90 5.15 3.51 4.39
Florida 1.56 1.70 1.56 1.72 1.63
Georgia 1.98 1.78 1.68 1.97 2.37
Hawaii 1.22 1.13 1.28 1.12 1.03
Idaho 1.45 1.32 1.03 1.84 1.71
Illinois 1.64 1.82 1.62 1.74 1.87
Indiana 1.82 1.74 2.02 1.72 1.97
Iowa 1.96 2.29 2.09 1.80 1.96
Kansas 1.88 2.11 1.70 1.69 1.56
Kentucky 1.66 1.62 1.44 1.43 1.42
Louisiana 1.83 2.36 2.49 2.77 2.36
Maine 1.85 2.40 1.96 1.47 1.91
Maryland 1.71 1.62 1.65 1.51 1.56
Massachusetts 1.61 1.39 1.41 1.73 2.08
Michigan 1.81 1.75 1.76 1.99 2.16
Minnesota 2.53 2.47 1.98 2.15 2.70
Mississippi 2.57 2.47 2.20 2.33 2.17
Missouri 1.62 1.88 1.80 1.64 2.56
Montana 1.18 1.97 2.86 2.49 2.21
Nebraska 2.02 2.70 2.80 2.79 2.43
Nevada 1.43 1.40 1.32 1.43 1.24
New Hampshire 1.46 1.62 1.42 1.31 1.39
New Jersey 1.32 1.47 1.30 1.30 1.53
New Mexico 1.47 1.73 1.50 2.08 2.13
New York 1.70 1.71 1.50 1.77 1.90
North Carolina 1.73 1.93 1.88 1.79 1.66
North Dakota 3.77 5.86 4.34 3.87 4.18
Ohio 1.68 1.89 2.12 1.96 2.06
Oklahoma 1.86 2.12 1.70 1.76 1.74
Oregon 1.07 1.40 1.29 1.41 1.47
Pennsylvania 1.98 1.95 2.01 1.92 1.95
Rhode Island 1.82 2.13 1.86 2.24 2.08
South Carolina 2.02 2.00 2.15 1.83 1.74
South Dakota 3.60 3.40 3.32 4.36 3.88
Tennessee 1.58 1.76 1.61 1.94 1.65
Texas 1.68 1.69 1.77 1.62 1.69
Utah 1.53 1.24 1.76 1.65 1.35
Vermont 1.14 1.28 1.86 2.36 1.00
Virginia 1.46 1.75 1.48 1.62 1.45
Washington 1.55 1.46 1.14 1.25 1.67
West Virginia 1.94 2.26 1.02 1.19 1.17
Wisconsin 2.24 2.70 2.43 2.62 3.12
Wyoming 1.58 2.01 2.23 1.62 1.43

Definition

Ratio of the unemployment rate of the white, non-Hispanic labor force and labor force of color (Black or African-American; Hispanic or Latino or other races), 2014.

Calculated by dividing the higher value by the lower value (i.e., the unemployment rate of the population of color divided by the white unemployment rate, except in Hawaii and Vermont, where white workers have a higher unemployment rate).

A ratio of 1 indicates perfect equality; the higher the ratio, the greater the inequality. 

Source

Current Population Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2015. Data calculated by Haveman Economic Consulting.

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