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Worst States for Minority Job Seekers

Michigan and Rhode Island top the lists

En español | Q. I'm finding it ridiculously difficult to get a job. I wonder, are certain minority groups having a tougher time finding work? And what states are the worst?

See also: Blacklisted! Unemployed face bias.

A. The recession was long and hard for Americans in general, but yes, landing a job has been extra tough if you're a member of certain minority groups, and tougher again if you live in certain states.

Minority job seekers are having a tougher time finding work.

Minority job seekers are having a tougher time finding work. — Photolibrary

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, recently analyzed government data to determine which states had the highest unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians.

Overall, the United States had an average unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in 2010. But joblessness among African Americans in Michigan exceeded 20 percent — and in 17 other states the rate was at least 15 percent.

Hispanics fared the worst in Rhode Island, Nevada, Connecticut and California, with rates of 15 percent or more.

For whites, rates were generally lower, but exceeded 10 percent in Nevada, California, Michigan and two other states.

The worst ranked states

Among African Americans:

  1. Michigan, 23.4 percent
  2. California, 18.8 percent
  3. South Carolina, 18.6 percent
  4. District of Columbia, 18.3 percent
  5. Illinois and Mississippi, 18 percent


Among Hispanics:

  1. Rhode Island, 21.6 percent
  2. Nevada, 19.2 percent
  3. Connecticut, 17.2 percent
  4. California, 15 percent
  5. Washington, 14.5 percent


Among whites:

  1. Nevada, 12.7 percent
  2. Michigan, 10.8 percent
  3. Oregon, 10.7 percent
  4. California, 10.3 percent
  5. Rhode Island, 10.1 percent

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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