Newspaper article

A Look at Who's Been Left out of Minnesota's Economic Recovery

Newspaper article

A Look at Who's Been Left out of Minnesota's Economic Recovery

Article excerpt

James Daniel doesn't remember the last time he had a real job.

For many years, he's bounced back and forth between jobs as a truck driver, construction worker and personal security guard. But none of them came with benefits. No health care. No retirement plans. No paid sick leave.

"It's rough out there," he noted. "Especially for us, African- Americans, it's hard to find a career where you can be there for 10, 20 years. And if you find one, it's hard to stay there. There are a lot of obstacles you have to go through."

Since the end of the Great Recession, Minnesota has emerged boasting an enviable economic record, with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and nearly 28,000 jobs added over the past year, according to the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development.

But as Daniel knows well, the good times aren't being shared by all Minnesotans. A recent report released by the Minnesota Budget Project -- an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits that provides research and analysis on budget issues -- reveals that many racial and ethnic groups continue to face high unemployment rates. Indeed, the people in Minnesota who are most likely to be unemployed tend to be young, less educated, single parents and those of color - - the very same groups who were also hit the hardest during the recession.

Groups most likely to be unemployed

Minnesotans who don't have a high school diploma or college degree are most likely to be unemployed, said Clark Biegler, a policy analyst with the Minnesota Budget Project, who authored the report. In fact, Minnesotans without high school education are four times more likely to be unemployed than those who completed high school.

Over 9 percent of individuals who didn't graduate from high school were unemployed in 2015; compared to 5 percent for those with a high school diploma.

State Rep. Rena Moran echoed the same sentiment: "These communities are looking for work. They're doing their due diligence to find jobs and they're not getting hired. …

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