We Are Not In This Together

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[T]here is a dirty secret about unemployment. We may feel united by a common anxiety about losing our jobs, but we are not all in this together. Unemployment is not a scythe that cuts equally through different sectors of society, felling white collar and blue collar, African-American and Hispanic, male and female, in equal measure. Young, minority men working in jobs that didn't pay much to begin with are suffering more than their white-collar counterparts. The unemployment rate for those over 25 with a college degree was 4.3 percent—half the national rate, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. For those college-educated and white, the number was 2.3 percent at the end of 2008, the most recent available for that demographic. On the other end of the spectrum, the unemployment rate for African-Americans over the age of 16 was 13.3 percent, and for Hispanics, 11.4 percent. For anyone without a high-school diploma, the rate was 13.3 percent. Minorities and the less educated have always suffered more during downturns, but the disparity has become more stark.

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