Report: Twin Cities Has Worst Black-to-White Jobless Ratio

For every white Twin Cities resident who was unemployed in 2011, more than three blacks were unemployed, according to a recent study.

Among 19 metropolitan areas included in a recent national study, the Twin Cities had the greatest disparity in unemployment among white and black residents.

In fact, the study found that for every white Twin Cities resident who was unemployed in 2011, more than three black residents were unemployed.

The study, conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, examined 19 U.S. metro areas. To ensure that each city had sufficient data to be included, the report encompassed metro areas in which at least 700 blacks and 700 whites in the local labor force had been included in a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics population survey. The study then adjusted those national figures using more refined local unemployment data, according to researcher Algernon Austin.

The Twin Cities’ black-to-white jobless ratio of 3.3 was well above Baltimore’s second-place ratio of 2.6. Chicago (2.5), Miami (2.5), and Washington, D.C. (2.4) rounded out the top five.

This year doesn’t mark the first time that the Twin Cities had the highest racial employment disparity: It also had the highest ratio two years ago and came in second last year only because of an error in the study, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

The disparity could be attributed in part to the unusual education gap between blacks and whites in the area, Austin told MPR.

“The whites are sort of above average for whites. The blacks are doing somewhat below average for blacks,” Austin told MPR. “And lower education attainment, higher unemployment rate. So you see this huge disparity.”

Overall unemployment among blacks in the Twin Cities, however, was down from 2010. Minneapolis had the sixth-highest black unemployment rate in 2011 at 17.7 percent, down 3.2 percent from 2010. Las Vegas had the highest black unemployment rate (22.6 percent) among the 19 cities in the study.

The Economic Policy Institute’s study isn’t the only indicator of significant racial disparities in the Twin Cities. A 2011 report by the Minneapolis Foundation found dramatic differences between Minneapolis residents of differing races and ethnicities—disparities that begin at an early age and affect education, jobs, housing, and other aspects of life.