Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 16, 2009


The Fiscal Policy Institute finds that job loss and wage declines are hitting New Yorkers hard - with some groups experiencing staggering levels of unemployment. Joblessness in New York State has increased by almost 400,000 since early 2008. The overall unemployment rate is just the tip of this economic iceberg. The official unemployment rate for black men jumped from 8.4 percent in the first half of 2008 to 18.3 percent in the first half of 2009. "Black men typically have higher unemployment rate than other groups," said James Parrott, chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute and principal author of the report. "But this jump of ten percentage points is an eye-popping increase from just a year ago. Black men are clearly bearing a disproportionate impact of the job loss in New York."

The official unemployment rate is far from the end of the story. The "real unemployment rate" includes people forced to work shorter hours or who are so discouraged they have given up looking for a job. Using the same methodology as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, FPI found that the real unemployment rate for New Yorkers overall is 14.1 percent. For men in New York State it is 12 percent for whites, 17 percent for Hispanics, and 14 percent for Asian and others. For black men, however, the real unemployment rate is a staggering 27 percent. For women in the state, the rates are 11 percent for whites, 18 percent for blacks, 19 percent for Hispanics, and 11 percent for Asian and others.


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