Comptroller John Liu: City Unemployment in Double Digits For Youth and Minorities


Comptroller John Liu, a possible 2013 mayoral candidate, released a report yesterday that highlighted the disparities in unemployment rates across the city. At the end of 2011, the rate of unemployment was in the double digits for young people, blacks, and Hispanics — and the rate was nearly twice as high in the Bronx compared to Manhattan.

The comptroller (who recently made headlines when Bloomberg said that Liu was out of the race), recommended that the city enact policies that expand opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, which he said create jobs in area where they are most needed. (Liu has often focused on these kinds of enterprises, and when Runnin’ Scared grabbed him for a few minutes after Mike Bloomberg’s State of the City speech earlier this month, one of his complaints was that the mayor only had a “half-line” mention of minority and women-owned businesses).

The report released yesterday basically picks apart the overall trends in data for the end of the year — a 9.7 percent unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with 8.6 percent in the same range in 2010, and 10.1 percent in 2009.

For 16-24 year olds, unemployment rose to 16.5 percent.

In terms of racial inequities, the unemployment rate was 13.6 percent for blacks and 10 percent for Hispanics compared to 7.8 percent for whites and 7.4 percent for Asians and others.

The Bronx fared the worst among the boroughs at 12.6 percent — nearly twice as high as Manhattan’s 6.4 percent (Brooklyn at 11.6 percent was not far behind the Bronx).

His data on ties between education and unemployment also underscored the importance of college in getting a job, which has been a topic of discussion this month at the mayor’s office and with city education officials. Liu reported that 12.3 percent of those with a high school diploma and “some college” were unemployed versus 6.7 percent of those with a BA or more.

The figures came from an analysis of data from the Current Population Survey, which surveys 50,000 households on a monthly basis and is run by the Census Bureau.

Overall, the city’s rate is higher than the national trends — across the country, unemployment was at 8.5 percent in December, down from 8.7 percent the prior month and from 9.4 percent the year before.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in December was 7.5 percent for whites and 15.8 percent for blacks.