In the past year, state and local governments have shed over 142,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department. An article recently reprinted in the Pioneer Press suggests that this downsizing of the public sector is hitting middle class African Americans especially hard:
Although the continuing economic downturn has been devastating to the American middle class as a whole, the 2-1/2 years since the declared end of the recession have been singularly harmful to middle-class blacks in terms of layoffs and unemployment, according to economists and recent government data. About one in five black workers have public-sector jobs, and African-American workers are one-third more likely than white ones to be employed in the public sector. Jobless rates among blacks have consistently been about double those of whites. In October, the black unemployment rate was 15.1 percent, compared with 8 percent for whites. In the summer, the black unemployment rate hit 16.7 percent, its highest level since 1984.
Full article here.