Friday, January 7, 2011


For Native Americans Recession Hits a Lot Harder
Published 6 Jan 2011, 10:51 am

The US Mint on January 12th will celebrate the release of this year’s $1 coin in its Native American series. The coin features the images of a Native American and white man passing a peace pipe. This represents a 1621 treaty signed between a tribe in Massachusetts and the area’s English settlers.

However, as the Federal government honors the history and contributions of Native Americans with a new coin, Indigenous people are among the least likely to have one in their pocket.

An issue brief released by the Economic Policy Institute in November shows that Native Americans are experiencing significantly higher rates of unemployment than whites. Titled, “Different Race, Different Recession: American Indian Unemployment in 2010,” the brief examines regional unemployment rates among American Indians.

From the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010, whites in Alaska and the Northern Plains were not hit as hard by the recession as their counterparts in other areas.

However for Native Americans, unemployment rose the most in these two regions in the same period. To calculate the unemployment rate among this diverse and widespread group, the Economic Policy Institute looked at employment-to-population ratios, instead of the more common method that excludes unemployed people who have stopped actively looking for work.

The employment-to-population ratio counts all working age adults who are not employed, and is considered by some to be a more accurate assessment of unemployment.

GUEST: Algernon Austin, author of the Brief and Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute

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