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Hardest Hit: African American Unemployment in Mississippi (Part 2)

May 12th, 2011

Yesterday’s post looked at the differences between unemployment rates among white and African American workers from late 2007 through 2010. While the post had a statewide focus, higher rates of unemployment among African American workers exist in Counties in each region of the state. Today’s post provides data from MEPC’s closer look at County-by-County unemployment rates by race.

The maps below were created using the most recent annual unemployment rates for White and African American workers. In 2009, unemployment was higher for African American workers than white workers in 81 Counties.

The vast majority of Counties in Mississippi recorded unemployment rates among African American workers that exceeded 12 percent, with 23 Counties recording rates above 20 percent.

In contrast, the majority of Counties recorded unemployment rates for white workers below 7 percent in 2009, while 32 Counties recorded white unemployment rates between 7 percent and 12 percent.

Click to enlarge


African Americans account for over one-third of the state’s population. Looking forward, disproportionally high rates of unemployment among African Americans limit the state’s ability to fully recover from the recession and prosper in the global economy. Ultimately, one of the keys to closing the unemployment gap includes closing the educational attainment gap. To move forward, the state must pursue policies that promote high standards, accountability and full funding of our education system. Community and asset development also remain imperative as well, especially in low-wealth communities.

Tomorrow, MEPC will provide an overview of next year’s budget and its role in promoting development in Mississippi.


Mississippi Deparment of Employment Security. LMI for Affirmative Action.


Sarah Welker, Policy Analyst


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