The report, “Weathering the Storm: Black Men in the Recession,” found:
The recession is taking a toll on most Americans and has resulted in job losses not seen in almost 25 years, but black men have felt its effects particularly hard.
Black men have long faced limited employment prospects and disproportionately low rates of unemployment. Even as the economy thrived and the participation of low-skilled women in the labor force increased over the last two decades, many black men remained largely disconnected from the labor market. While the unemployment rate among black men has declined dramatically over the last few decades, the level of workforce participation among African-American men has not increased and remains stagnant. The current degree of job loss among black men is particularly alarming. These losses will likely only increase as the economic crisis deepens.
The report concludes:
In good times and in bad, the African-American unemployment rate tends to be about double that of whites, and in tough economic times, it rises higher and faster. In this recession, as in previous economic downturns, the effects on the labor force are not evenly distributed among the different demographic groups. In fact, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that African Americans had a higher rate of job loss in the fourth quarter of 2008 than did whites, Hispanics, or the catch-all category “other.”
What’s more, the recession overall has hit men much harder than women—so far, four out of every five jobs lost has been held by a male worker. Black men lead the unemployment surge, with an unemployment rate of 15.4 percent. This comes as a result of a range of barriers to employment, including disproportionate employment in vulnerable industries and labor market discrimination. Over a third of young black men ages 16 to 19 in the labor market are unemployed. In fact, a recent report found that 8 percent of black men have lost their jobs since November 2007.
The full report and recommendations are available here.