Communities of Color Face High Underemployment in Washington
As a result of the Great Recession, some 16.2 percent of Washington’s workforce was underemployed in 2009. Yesterday, we posted an analysis of new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showing growth in the unemployment and underemployment rates in Washington since 2007. (We also described the differences between the two indicators.) Today we provide a deeper analysis of the new data, which show that underemployment was alarmingly high among certain communities of color in Washington State last year.
The graph below shows the 2009 underemployment rate by race and ethnicity in Washington. As the graph shows, white and Asian Washingtonians experienced average underemployment rates of 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively – significantly lower than the statewide rate. At the same time, underemployment among African Americans stood significantly above the statewide average at 21 percent. Finally, 26 percent of Hispanic workers were underemployed last year.