A study released Monday, May 18, 2009 by the Women of Color Policy Network, a research center at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, shows that job creation efforts in President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will miss many Blacks and Latinos due to their disproportionately high unemployment rates.

The unemployment rate for Blacks and Latinos is 12.9 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 8.9 percent. As currently configured, jobs created or saved through the Reinvestment Act would decrease the national unemployment rate to 6.5 percent, but would only decrease the unemployment rate among African-Americans and Latinos to 10.7 percent.

Of the nearly 4 million jobs to be created or saved through the Reinvestment Act, only 917,675 will go to African-Americans and Latinos, the report has found.

An additional 1.7 million jobs would have to be created and go directly to Blacks and Latinos to cut the unemployment rate in those communities to the Obama administration’s projected national rate of 6.5 percent by 2010.

The Women of Color Policy Network study also found:

  • Of the jobs created or saved, African-American and Latino women will receive an estimated 420,991 and African-American and Latino men will receive 496,684
  • African-Americans and Latinos are under-represented in the industries targeted through the Reinvestment Act. Black and Latino men comprise 5.1 percent and 8.4 percent of those working in targeted industries. Black and Latino women make up 5.9 percent and 5.6 of those working in targeted industries
  • Of the targeted industries and occupations identified as green, African-Americans and Latinos comprise less than 25 percent of those employed
  • Although women will receive nearly half of the jobs that will be created through the Act, they are under-represented in higher-wage occupations and in targeted industries
  • White women will receive an estimated 1,377,879 jobs through the Reinvestment act; a figure nearly 70 percent higher than for African-American and Latino women combined.
  C. Nicole Mason, executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network, NYU Wagner, said, “During this time of great economic need and distress, it is important to consider the most vulnerable in our society. To ensure that everyone recovers successfully, the Obama administration will need to dedicate significant and additional resources to communities hit hardest and to those with the least safety nets.” 

To view the Report, please click here.

About the Women of Color Policy Network
The Women of Color Policy Network at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University conducts research and collects data on policies impacting women of color in the areas of employment, poverty, welfare, incarceration and health; uses the data and information to help educate community-based groups to hold policy-makers more accountable; works with policy-makers to help provide them with data to improve their decision-making; and mentors future generations of young women of color to enter the public policy and advocacy arena.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337