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Five states with over 20 percent black unemployment

WASHINGTON -- Wisconsin (25 percent), Michigan (23.9 percent), Minnesota (22 percent), Maine (21.4 percent) and Washington (21 percent) had the highest rates of black unemployment, according to a Labor Dept. study on the impact of the economic downturn on African-Americans.Georgia and Florida (226,000 each), New York (220,000), California (214,000), and Texas (187,000) had the largest numbers of black unemployed.
"From 2007 to 2009, black employment took the largest hit in manufacturing, financial activities, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and construction," said the study. "Together these industries employed nearly 1 million fewer blacks in 2009 than they did in 2007. In 2010, employment declines among black workers continued in financial activities, transportation and warehousing, and construction. As for nearly every race and ethnic group, health and social services showed the largest employment increase for black workers through the recession and into the recovery period."
Looking to the future, the study stated, "Jobs in the professional and technical services industry are expected to grow the fastest with 2.6 million additional jobs projected by 2018 compared to 2008. In 2010, only 5.6 percent of jobs in this industry went to black workers, making them underrepresented in this high-growth industry. Blacks are underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical (STEM) occupations—accounting for about 7 percent or less of jobs—in math and science related occupations, such as computer and mathematical occupations (6.7 percent), life, physical, and social science occupations (6.3 percent), and architecture and engineering occupations (5.2 percent) in 2010."

According to the Labor Department, African-Americans are 19 percent of those receiving employment services -- about 4.3 million black workers.  Among other programs, 140,000 blacks found jobs through Workforce Improvement Act training. More than 2.3 million blacks received unemployment insurance from 2009 to 2010.

The department's regulatory agency, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, conducted 80 compliance reviews which found discriminatory practices.  Fourteen of those cases impacted 1,414 African-Americans through back pay awards or job offers.

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