Latino jobless rate in R.I. worst in U.S.

Posted 7/2/12

PROVIDENCE – Providence is at the top of the latest Hispanic Metropolitan Unemployment list for the second year in a row.

The unemployment rate of Latinos in Providence-Fall River-New Bedford metropolitan area was 23.3 percent in 2011, significantly higher than any of the other 25 metro areas on the list. Fellow Northeastern metros Philadelphia, New York and Boston ranked fifth, 17th and 23rd respectively.

For the past three years, the Latino unemployment rate has exceeded 20 percent, and in 2011 Providence was the only metro area on the list with a rate greater than 20 percent.

Not only does Providence have the highest percentage of Latino unemployment, the city also has the greatest discrepancy between the Latino and white unemployment rates. The Latino unemployment rate is 2.5 times the white rate of 9.3 percent (excluding white Hispanics).

The list was compiled by Austin Algernon, director of the Race, Ethnicity and Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. The metropolitan areas were selected based on whether there was a sufficient Latino sample size from the Current Population Survey conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to generate reliable statistics.

Kate Brewster, executive director of the Economic Progress Institute in Rhode Island, finds the results of the study “troubling,” but not surprising.

“The significant losses in manufacturing and construction in Rhode Island have created increased risk of unemployment for the Hispanic population here,” Brewster said. “This report should send a signal that more needs to be done to get the economy moving.”

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