Saturday, June 18, 2011

State of Working Colorado: Disparities in joblessness – More pain for some

Colorado has pronounced disparities in unemployment and underutilization. Men, young workers, racial and ethnic minorities, and the less-educated all experienced higher rates of joblessness than their counterparts.

Worst off among racial and ethnic groups are blacks, with an unemployment rate more than double their white counterparts; and Hispanics, with rates nearly double those of whites. Troublingly, those differences are not just a product of the recession but have persisted for some time in Colorado. Indeed, racial and ethnic disparities in unemployment are remarkably and disconcertingly prevalent in Colorado. Regardless of the economic climate, blacks and Hispanics experience substantially higher rates of unemployment than their white counterparts.

A familiar pattern emerges in jobless rates in the context of education. Unemployment and underutilization increase substantially among less-educated Coloradans. In 2009, high school dropouts in Colorado experienced four times the unemployment and underutilization rates of college graduates. That pattern again underscores the value of education in today’s labor market and highlights the need for continued support of robust kindergarten through 12th-grade education, and affordable higher education.

For more insights, including detailed policy recommendations for enhancing economic security for all Coloradans, check out the State of Working Colorado 2010. 

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