Sandy Impacts Jobs Numbers, Black Women Suffering from Losses in the Public Sector

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November 21, 2012 ‐ By

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The latest jobs numbers indicate that Hurricane Sandy had an impact on the employment efforts of the nation’s jobless. Claims for the week ending November 17 went up 41,000 to 410,000. During the previous week, jobless claims spiked in New York (43,956) and New Jersey (31,094). Nationwide, the number of people receiving jobless benefits fell by 30,000 to 3.34 million for the week ending November 10.

According to Bloomberg, we could see continued claims related to job losses from Sandy for the next few weeks and retailers saw a slowdown due to the storm.

All that said, it’s even harder out there for African Americans, who still disproportionately populate the jobless rolls. RT points out that the jobless rate for African Americans is 14.3 percent, even as the national rate fell to 7.9 percent, as of October. For young people, it’s even more pronounced, with a 12 percent jobless rate for whites between the ages of 18 and 29 versus 21.4 percent for blacks in the same age group. And for women, who lost more jobs during the recovery than the recession, the loss of public sector jobs has been detrimental.

“During the recession, black women lost 233,000 jobs. During the recovery, they lost 258,000,” RT quotes from numbers provided by the National Women’s Law Center.

Public sector jobs include librarians, teachers, and government workers. “Public sector jobs, of which one million have been cut during President Obama’s first term, employed a large number of black women and carried them into the middle class. The loss in public sector jobs was the worst on record when Obama first took office,” the story reports.

This is a topic that Melissa Harris-Perry has talked about quite a bit on her program in recent months, emphasizing the fact that these jobs are what lifted blacks into the middle class and now contribute to black middle class peril. Adding to that, RT notes, is discrimination. They use as an example a black woman who made her name sound “more white” and, as a result, got more call backs from companies seeking staffers.

We have published a number of stories on a wide range of employment topics, including job-hunting apps, the seasonal job search, and getting ahead in your career. If you have any questions or thoughts on the topic, let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook. We can compile them and gather expert responses for a separate story.

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