Black Unemployment in East St. Louis Highlights Disparities

Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on the high unemployment numbers among blacks in East St. Louis, where painful memories of the Great Depression still persist.

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    As bad as the latest unemployment numbers are, they're even worse for African-Americans. Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, looks at the impact that's having in East St. Louis, Illinois. His report is the latest in his series on making sense of economic news.

  • ANDREW THEISING, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville:

    East St. Louis is right there.

  • PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent:

    Political science Professor Andrew Theising.


    We are about to get on the Poplar Street Bridge, which is the main interstate bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois.


    A bridge across the Mississippi from St. Louis to East St. Louis, a case study in black unemployment, which jumped last month to more than 17 percent nationwide for men. Add in estimates of so-called discouraged workers and the underemployed and black unemployment is around 30 percent for more in places like this, a number reminiscent of the Great Depression.

    The prospects for high school kids?


    It's about who you know. If you don't know nobody, you're not getting in there.


    Prospects for older workers?


    If I can get minimum wage, I'd be happy. But there aren't any jobs for a 63-year-old man, not in this area that I can get.