Unemployment dropped sharply for the least-educated Americans in 2011.
Whites, Asians and Hispanics also enjoyed better job prospects. But African-Americans lagged far behind, with their unemployment near its highest level in decades.
For workers without a high school diploma, seasonally adjusted unemployment slid from 15.1 percent to 13.8 percent. Among high school graduates with no college experience, it fell from 9.8 percent to 8.7 percent.
Unemployment among those with a college degree– an associate’s, a bachelor’s or more — did tick down but not as much. The rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or beyond declined from 4.8 percent to 4.1 percent. Five years ago, it was just 1.8 percent.
Among whites, unemployment declined from 8.5 percent to 7.5 percent. Asians reported the lowest unemployment rate among the four identified racial groups: It slid from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent. (Unlike for other racial categories, unemployment for Asians, a smaller group, isn’t adjusted for seasonal factors.)
The rate for Hispanics fell most steeply among the racial groups, from 12.9 percent to 11 percent. But that’s because a disproportionate number of Hispanics have stopped looking for work and so aren’t counted as unemployed. Immigration has also declined sharply. That means there are fewer foreign-born job-seekers.
Unemployment among African-Americans was unchanged at 15.8 percent over the past year.