The latest national unemployment report offered good news: The labor market is on track to see its biggest expansion in 15 years.
Despite that, Americans don’t appear to be celebrating. Most voters on Tuesday said they cast their ballots out of fear for the economy. And for blacks and Hispanics that fear may be well-founded.
In the third quarter of the year, the unemployment rate across all races and ethnicities was 6.1 percent. For Hispanics it was 7.2 percent, according to a recent estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, based on available federal data on unemployment and population. For blacks, unemployment was up at 11.3 percent. Virginia had the smallest gaps in unemployment by race, but here’s a look at where disparities are greatest for blacks and Hispanics and best for Asians.
(Note: Scroll to the bottom for an interactive state-by-state map.)
Black unemployment by state
Among states where there was enough data to provide estimates by race, the divide between blacks and whites was greatest in Missouri, where black unemployment was 15.7 percent and white unemployment was a low 4.5 percent. The sample size was not large enough to create accurate estimates of black unemployment in 26 states. While that 11.2 percentage point gap was largest among states where estimates could be made, Michigan was a close second with a 10.9 percentage point gap. Black unemployment was 9.6 percentage points higher than white unemployment in both Nevada and Connecticut. In California, the gap was 8.8 percentage points.
Hispanic unemployment by state
For Hispanics, the gap was largest in Rhode Island, where Hispanic unemployment was 14.8 percentage points higher than the low 5.5 percent white unemployment rate. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania tied for second with a 7.4 point gap, followed by Connecticut, then New Mexico. Estimates for Hispanic unemployment were available in only 23 states due to insufficient data elsewhere. In three states — Virginia, Nevada and Maryland — Hispanic unemployment was actually lower than white unemployment, by a difference of less than 1 percentage point.
Asian unemployment by state
In the 10 states where estimates of Asian unemployment could be made, white unemployment was higher in all but one. In Nevada, Asian unemployment was 3 percent, while the white rate was 7.2 percent. In Washington and Maryland, the gap between the two was nearly 2.5 percentage points, while the gap in Virginia was 1.7 points. In the remaining states, Asian unemployment bested white unemployment by a difference of less than 1 percentage point.