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Illinois Ranks Worst In Black Unemployment Rate: Report

By Stephen Gossett in News on May 23, 2017 4:59PM

Job Seekers Attend Career Fair, 2013 / Getty Images / Photo: John Moore

Illinois had the ignominious distinction of leading the country in terms of black unemployment rate last year, according to a new report.

The state logged a 12.7 percent rate of black joblessness in 2016, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. The unemployment rate for Latinos in the state meanwhile was 6.7 percent and just 5 percent for whites, researchers found. Nevada had the same rate of black unemployment as Illinois, though with a black population seven times smaller than Illinois, the report notes.

Illinois Policy

The analysis—which examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics—also found that only 51.2 percent of black adults in Illinois have some manner of employment. Only Michigan fared worse, at 50.8 percent.

While black employment has mostly steadily risen since the recession, the recovery lags compared to others in Illinois. Black employment remained down by 77,000 jobs from 2000.

Illinois Policy

Losses in the manufacturing sector were partly to blame for the low figures, according to the Illinois Policy Institute, a free-market, conservative-leaning group that received several hundred thousand dollars in donations from Bruce Rauner before he became governor.

A report late last year by the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute also determined that Illinois led the nation in black unemployment rates.

A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute in January found that joblessness among young black men in the city of Chicago was alarmingly high—with unemployment among black 20- to 24-year-olds at 60.2 percent in 2015. That report found that the decline in available jobs was directly tied to the decline of manufacturing in Chicago and “the emptying out of jobs from neighborhoods,” a contrast from the professional level services” downtown.

[H/T Dan Lopez]