Unemployment: Who's Been Hit the Hardest?
While the most recent numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that very little has changed since January and unemployment rates held at 9.7%, they also reveal some fascinating facts on which gender, race, age and education levels are taking the hardest hits in this economy.
The Race to the Unemployment Line
For those of you who read Which Race Earns Most in US? it will come as no surprise that Asians have the lowest unemployment rate, at 8.4 percent, well below the 9.7% national average. Caucasians have the next lowest, at 8.8 percent. Hispanics or Latinos are above the national average, at 12.4 percent. The race with the highest unemployment rates is black or African American--15.8 percent of their population registers as unemployed.
- Asian [8.4%]
- Caucasian [8.8%]
- Hispanic/Latino [12.4%]
- African American [15.8%]
Men or Women?
When it comes to gender, adult women in America have an unemployment rate of 8 percent, a full two points lower than adult US males, 10 percent of whom are unemployed. But teenagers have it worse than anyone--those from ages 16-19, including both males and females, have an unemployment rate of a whopping 25.8 percent, which sounds pretty dire, until you consider the fact that most teenagers are not heads of household, and their incomes are more discretionary. Also, that number is down from January's numbers, when 26.9 percent of them were considered unemployed.
Since gender specifics for Asians were not made available, the numbers at hand make it appear that if you're a white woman over 20, you have the best chance of being employed in the US right now. Their unemployment rate is only 7.4 percent. Black males in the same age category have the highest unemployment rate at 16.2 percent, while white males over 20 have a 10.7 unemployment rate. 13.5 percent of Latino men over 20 are officially unemployed, while 11.3 percent of Latino women are in the same boat.
- Lowest Unemployment: 20+ Caucasian Women [7.4%]
- Highest Unemployment: 20+ African American Men [16.2%]
The Value of an Education
Erasing gender, race and age distinctions and going only by education level, there's more proof that a Bachelor's degree really pays off. Only five percent of those with college degrees are officially unemployed right now, while 8.4 percent of those with some college or an associate's degree are out of work. Those with only a high school diploma and no college are above the overall 9.7 percent average, at 11.5. And it's those who haven't graduated high school that are suffering most -- 17.9 percent of them are unemployed.
- Bachelor's Degree [5%]
- Associate's Degree [8.4%]
- High School Diploma [11.5%]
- No High School Diploma [17.9%]
Going by those numbers, it's probably safe to say that if you're a college-educated Asian woman, the current economy has been kindest to you. But it appears to be harshest for you if you're an African American male without a high school education. Across the board, this is the perfect time to go back to school.
Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.