Asian Americans hit hardest by long-term unemployment

May 23, 2012

Asian Americans have the highest rate of long-term joblessness of any ethnicity in the United States, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington.

Last year marked the second year in a row that Asian Americans had the largest share of unemployed workers who were unemployed long term (i.e., for six months or more). In 2011, 50.1 percent of the Asian American unemployed were unemployed long term, up from 48.7 percent in 2010. In both of these years, the Asian American share slightly exceeded the African American share.

Share of unemployed who have been unemployed 27 weeks or more, by race and ethnicity, 2010–2011

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other central bank officials have argued long-term unemployment is an enormous challenge, but have been reluctant to apply additional monetary stimulus to the problem. In March, Bernanke said:

Although most spells of unemployment are disruptive or costly, the persistently high rate of long-term unemployment we have seen over the past three years or so is especially concerning.

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