A new report by the Department of Labor gives an inside look at the state of Asian Americans after the Great Recession.
“Despite the dangerous misconception that the AAPIs [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] were largely untouched by the recession, we know that the community has been devastated by longterm unemployment, elevated levels of poverty and downward mobility,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, the Chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus, during a conference call this week with reporters.
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The new report - titled “The Economic Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Wake of the Great Recession” -- found that the unemployment rate among both Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians more than doubled during the recession, which began in late 2007.
Native Hawaiians were hit particularly hard by unemployment, and have a current unemployment rate of 10.2 percent, while Pacific Islanders have a poverty rate of over 17 percent.
“Asian Americans, on average, have a lower unemployment rate than other groups,” said United States Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu, citing the 5.6 percent unemployment rate in the community. “But when you look at something like the period of duration of unemployment, you see that Asian Americans have one of the highest rates of longterm unemployed.”
Department of Labor researchers found that a startling 42 percent of unemployed Asian Americans were considered "longterm unemployed," which is defined as being out of work for at least 27 weeks.