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Report says US blacks doing worse in job market

April 2, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Underemployment is a bigger obstacle for African-Americans’ economic progress than it is for whites or Hispanics in the U.S., the National Urban League says in its latest State of Black America report.

The annual report noted that African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. The unemployment rate for blacks was 12 percent in February, compared to 5.8 percent for whites.

The underemployment rate for African-American workers was 20.5 percent, the report said, compared to 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers. Underemployment is defined as those who are jobless or working part-time jobs but desiring full-time work.

Despite the dismal numbers, an analysis by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found African-Americans significantly more optimistic about their future standard of living than whites, regardless of income level, education, or partisanship. Overall, 71 percent of blacks surveyed in the 2012 General Social Survey agreed that they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, outpacing the share among whites by 25 percentage points.

The survey found high optimism even among blacks who say racism is a cause for economic inequality.

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AP-NORC Center report on the public mood: http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/the-public-mood-white-malaise-but-optimism-among-blacks-hispanics.aspx

National Urban League: www.nul.org

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