Unemployment in Indian Country doubles in 2008-10 recession?!

As if the 20-80% unemployment rates on Indian reservations across the United States aren’t bad enough already, the press is reporting that the Great Recession has caused joblessness to double among Native Americans in total.

The article states that a study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that from the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010, the national joblessness rate among American Indians more than doubled from 7.5% to 15.2%. By comparison, the jobless rate for white Americans rose from 4.1% to 9.1% over that same period.

By 2010, the unemployment rate for Alaska Natives jumped from 6.3% to 21.3%.

Since the start of the recession, American Indians in the Midwest experienced the greatest increase in unemployment, growing to 19.3%.

By the first half of this year, slightly more than half — 51.5% of American Indians nationally were working, down from 58.37 in the first half of 2007.

The study warns that the true numbers are likely to be even worse. “To be counted as unemployed, one has to be actively looking for work at the time of being surveyed. . . . Groups, like American Indians, who experience long spells of unemployment or who have an especially difficult time finding work, are more likely to drop out of the labor force by not actively looking for work.”

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