Report: Black unemployment rate almost twice that of rate for whites in Louisiana

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PHOTO BY EZS / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • PHOTO BY EZS / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

The unemployment rate for black Louisianans is almost twice the unemployment rate for white job-seekers in the state, according to a new analysis by left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In the first quarter of 2018, the black unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in the state, compared to the white unemployment rate of 3.4 percent. This falls slightly below the unemployment rate for black workers nationally (7.2 percent) but is more than two points above the national unemployment rate (4.1 percent).

According to EPI's report, Louisiana joins many other states showing a meaningful disparity between unemployment rates for black and white job-seekers. In 14 states and Washington, D.C. the black unemployment rate is more than twice that of the white rate. Washington, D.C. had the nation's largest gap, where a 12.9 percent black unemployment rate is compared to a 1.5 percent unemployment rate for white workers.

Economists offer a number of explanations for the cause of racial disparities in unemployment rates, some of which are rooted in discrimination in hiring, lack of access to recruiting networks for people of color and other indicators of systemic bias — especially in economies that otherwise appear strong. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced a 1.2 percent drop in Louisiana's overall unemployment rate as compared to spring of last year. 

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