Black People Are Still Jobless In New York As City Recovers From Recession
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For months now, New York officials have been highlighting how the city has regained all the jobs lost during the long recession and then some. But by several measures, the city’s recovery has left black New Yorkers behind. More than half of all of African-Americans and other non-Hispanic blacks in the city who were old enough to work had no job at all this year, according to an analysis of employment data compiled by the federal Labor Department. And when black New Yorkers lose their jobs, they spend a full year, on average, trying to find new jobs — far longer than New Yorkers of other races.
Nationally, the employment outlook for blacks has begun to brighten: there were about one million more black Americans with jobs in May than there were a year earlier, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But that is not the case in New York City, where the decline in employment since the recession began here, in 2008, has been much steeper for blacks than for white or Hispanic residents, said James Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal research group. One problem, said David R. Jones, the president and chief executive of the Community Service Society of New York, is that blacks were overrepresented in fields that suffered the most in the downturn, including government agencies, construction and manufacturing.
“It’s being in the wrong place in the economy, so the recovery is not trickling down to these workers,” Mr. Jones said. Kevin Starkes, 53, who is black and lives in the South Bronx, said he had been trying for about 10 weeks to find work as an accountant. “Employers are getting more for less,” said Mr. Starkes, who was at a Workforce1 Career Center in Harlem on Wednesday. “People who used to get a job with a bachelor’s degree now need a master’s. I just think that’s the state of the economy right now.” Four years ago, there were about the same number of discouraged blacks and whites in the city. But since then, the number of discouraged black workers has grown to almost 40,000, from about 13,000, while the number of discouraged whites increased to about 22,000, from about 12,000.