President Barack Obama and his family couldn’t even unpack at the White House before talks of a Great Depression, the sequel started.

Many of us thought it was all media hype. We said, “Really? It’s 2009, is this really comparable to the terrible 30’s?”

The statistics ran in our head like a song that sucked. America has been rightfully preoccupied with the Gulf oil spill, but the Economic Policy Institute’s latest report on unemployment rates by race in the largest metro cities reminds the country what the big elephant in the room remains.

The research compiled by EPI researcher Algernon Austin shows the African American and Hispanic metro unemployment rates exceeded 1.5 times the White metro unemployment rate in most of the metro cities examined. In Minneapolis and Memphis, the African American unemployment rate was three times the White rate.

The unemployment in the Detroit metro area remains at a devastating 15 percent, due in large part to a cripplingly automotive industry the city has relied on for decades. Riverside, California, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Providence follow not far behind in all above 11.3 percent.

America’s most prominent cities with significant African American populations fall in the top 10 for unemployment. Vacation favorites like Miami and Los Angeles remains at 15.5 and 15 percent respectively.

Many urban Americans were temporarily covered with Census jobs, but now that these jobs are ending, many Blacks and Hispanics find themselves back where they started.

The EPI’s research concludes the data reveals the continuing need for immediate targeted job creation with a specific focus in metros with the highest unemployment like Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

Unsurprisingly, the EPI reports “Hispanic and Black communities in metro areas generally experience greater hardship from unemployment than Whites.”

The report calls for an “advancement of equal opportunity” in these problem metro areas.


How is Great Depression-like unemployment affecting you and your family?

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