Special Report

States With the Highest Black Unemployment

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an unemployment crisis of historic magnitude. The national jobless rate more than tripled in a single month from 4.4% in March 2020 to 14.8% in April — a high not seen since the Great Depression. Though the majority of those jobs have since returned, the recovery has exposed and in many cases worsened existing levels of racial inequality.

According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, the jobless rate among Black Americans in the second quarter of 2021 far exceeds the white unemployment rate in every state with available data. Nationwide, Black members of the workforce are twice as likely to be out of work as white workers. 

Using Q2 2021 unemployment data from the EPI, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the black unemployment rate in every state. Only 16 states, including Washington D.C., had a large enough sample size for accurate estimates. We also considered for our list the median household income for Black and white households from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

The uneven employment gains as the U.S. economy recovers from the pandemic shock are in many ways part of deeply entrenched historical patterns. Unemployment is just one of many measures that can expose the long-standing racial inequalities in the United States. Here is a look at the worst cities for Black Americans

Currently, the Black unemployment rate ranges from 4.5% to 13.8%, depending on the state. States are ranked from 16 to one, from the lowest Black unemployment rate to the highest. 

Click here to see states with the highest black unemployment