As bad as the unemployment crisis in Rhode Island was for white workers, it was nearly twice as severe for workers of color.
A new report from the Economic Progress Institute shows that black and Latino workers were unemployed at almost twice the rate of white workers from 2007 to 2014. “The takeaway here is that the worst unemployment situation White workers face is better than nearly the best unemployment situation that Black and Latino workers face,” reads the report.
“The significantly higher rates of unemployment for Latino and Black Rhode Islanders and lower wages for these communities and Southeast Asians – should set off alarm bells for business leaders and policy makers,” said EPI Executive Director Rachel Flum in a press release.
The white unemployment rate topped out at 9.7 percent in 2009, while the black unemployment rate was 17.7 percent that same year and maxed out at 18.1 percent in 2011. The Latino unemployment was even worse with a high of 21.7 percent in 2010 and hovering around a fifth of all working Latinos in Rhode Island from 2009 to 2013.
All three ethnicity’s unemployment rates dropped significantly in 2014, but at 16.2 percent the unemployment rate for Rhode Island Latinos was not only the highest in the nation but also “more than double the national Latino unemployment rate of 7.4%,” according to the EPI.
“This report underscores the need for Rhode Island to pivot towards the worker,” said Anna Cano-Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, in the press release. “When we do that, we not only maximize our economic potential but we also fully value all Rhode Islanders.”