Explaining Southern California's economy

Los Angeles sees job growth, but African Americans still struggle

Mercer 20775

Robyn Beck

A jobs fair on Los Angeles sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. African American unemployment in the L.A. was second only to Las Vegas in severity in 2011.

The University of Redlands Institute of Spatial Economic Analysis (ISEA), part of the business school, has just released a study showing that the unemployment situation is improving in Los Angeles County, as well as in other areas of California. However, ISEA call the improvement "patchy." Obviously, with unemployment in California and the L.A. region running significantly higher than at the national level, any progress is welcome progress.

But for African Americans in L.A., modest improvement is cold comfort. According to a report released earlier this month by the Economic Policy Institute, authored by Algernon Austin, African American unemployment increased in the L.A.-Long Beach-Santa Ana area by 1.8 percent between 2010 and 2011 — to 21.1 percent from 18.3 percent. It may very well have declined since the beginning of 2012, but the fact remains: black unemployment in the L.A. region is running much higher than the national black unemployment rate, which actually rose to 14.4 percent in June from 13.6 percent in May. And it's running nearly three times the national rate, which is currently at 8.2 percent.