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A Troubling Statistic: Illinois Has The Nation's Highest Black Unemployment Rate
05-24-2017, 05:43 PM,
A Troubling Statistic: Illinois Has The Nation's Highest Black Unemployment Rate
A Troubling Statistic: Illinois Has The Nation's Highest Black Unemployment Rate

<p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Michael Lucci via,</em></a></p>
<div class="intro"><span>New Bureau of Labor Statistics data show Illinois&rsquo; black residents have an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent, <strong>more than double the state&rsquo;s overall rate. </strong></span></div>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Illinois had the nation&rsquo;s highest black unemployment rate in 2016</a>, according to <a href="">annual unemployment data</a> released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.<strong> Only 51 percent of black adults reported having some form of work in Illinois, highlighting an economic crisis that far too few political leaders are talking about. </strong>The BLS data support the conclusions in recent <a href="">quarterly reports from the Economic Policy Institute</a>, which have pointed to Illinois as having the nation&rsquo;s highest black unemployment.</p>
<p>Illinois&rsquo; weak job creation has a significant effect on the black community, especially due to manufacturing job losses in the Chicago area and a lack of construction job opportunities. Illinois&rsquo; black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in 2016, <strong>compared with 6.7 percent for Latinos and 5 percent for whites.</strong></p>
<p><strong>Illinois&rsquo; 12.7 percent black jobless rate is the highest in the U.S., tied with Nevada.</strong> However, Illinois&rsquo; black population is seven times as large as Nevada&rsquo;s, meaning Illinois&rsquo; crisis is playing out on a much larger scale. Illinois&rsquo; neighboring states achieved much lower black jobless rates than Illinois in 2016. (BLS does not calculate a black unemployment rate for Iowa, however, because the state&rsquo;s black population does not constitute a sample large enough to be included in the BLS survey.)</p>
<p><strong>The weighted average black jobless rate for all other states is 8.1 percent, and the weighted average among Illinois&rsquo; border states is 8.9 percent.</strong></p>
<p><a href=""><img height="519" src="" width="600" /></a></p>
<p>Perhaps equally telling is Illinois&rsquo; black employment rate &ndash; the percentage of black adults who are engaged in some form of work. <strong>Illinois&rsquo; black employment rate is only 51.2 percent, compared with 63.2 percent for whites and 65 percent for Latinos.&nbsp;</strong>Illinois&rsquo; 51.2 percent black employment rate means that just over half of Illinois&rsquo; adult black residents have some form of work. Michigan is the only state with a lower black employment rate than Illinois.</p>
<p>The weighted average black employment rate for other states is 56.8 percent, and the weighted average among Illinois&rsquo; border states is 59.2 percent.</p>
<p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p>
<p>Black employment in Illinois fell by 18,000 people from 2015 to 2016, and the number of black workers in Illinois&rsquo; labor force shrank by 16,000. Despite the shrinking workforce, the black unemployment rate increased to 12.7 percent from 12.2 percent year over year.</p>
<p><strong>The number of black people working in Illinois has been in decline since the turn of the century.</strong> There were 77,000 fewer blacks working in Illinois in 2016 compared with 2000, a shocking 10 percent decline in total employment. By comparison, Illinois&rsquo; combined white and Latino employment is actually up by 272,000 since 2000, according to the <a href="">BLS&rsquo; annual average data</a>.</p>
<p><strong>Similarly, the recovery in black employment over the Great Recession era lags that of the rest of the state. <u>Black employment is still down 5.1 percent compared with its pre-recession high.</u></strong></p>

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