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Job fairs in South Florida address high unemployment rate among African-Americans

With unemployment in Florida remaining at over 10 percent, members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have said job creation is a priority will host several job fairs in Miami-Dade this week. #

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale, said in a press release that job creation remains the No. 1 priority, adding that “there continues to be major racial and economic disparity that continues to go unaddressed in the broader discussion of job creation and economic recovery. ” #

While Florida’s July jobs report (.pdf) released last Friday indicates that “the state’s unemployment rate is unchanged from the revised June 2011 rate of 10.7 percent,” a little more than 22,000 jobs were lost. Florida unemployment remained steady during the month of June, and added manufacturing jobs. #

The report also indicates that unemployment remains above the state average in several counties, including Miami-Dade at 12.5 percent, down from almost 14 percent in June. The July report adds that in the Miami-Fort Lauderadale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area, unemployment was 11.5 percent, down from 11.9 percent in July 2010. #

A report issued in late July by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (aka RISEP) at Florida International University shows that “the last five months have seen steady declines in Florida’s unemployment rate, from 12% in December to 10.6% in May.” #

The RISEP report adds that “the majority of the jobs created are in industries that pay below the average wage in the state. The industry that added the most jobs, Accommodation and Food Services, also has the lowest average annual wage at $18,842 per year.” #

RISEP has also reported that through 2009 and 2010, the number of unemployed blacks in Florida was almost 17 percent, while Hispanics experienced 13 percent unemployment. #

While the U.S. unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in July, it was 8.1 percent for whites, 15.9 percent for blacks and 11.3 percent for Hispanics. #

According to a Center for American Progress report issued in early August: #

African Americans have endured stagnated unemployment at 9.2 percent or higher—as high as 16.3 percent—since early 2008. This news is not new but it’s crucial in an ongoing debate about job creation, social service funding, high national debt, and a very slow recovery. Namely, investing in jobs for people of color is good for the economy in the long run. #

The report adds that “even in the ‘recovery’ African Americans are still the most likely to be unemployed and to economically languish in comparison to other demographics of working people.” #

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