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In terms of job losses, Brooklynites battered by recession

Brooklyn residents, particularly those living in some of the borough’s less affluent neighborhoods, have been particularly hard-hit by the current recession.

A recently released study by the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), based on unemployment data collected between July and September, 2009, provides the grim details, with unemployment in Brooklyn exceeding the city average, and behind only the Bronx in terms of the percent of the labor force that is without work.

“Wall Street might be recovering, but the recession rages on in New York City’s Main Street neighborhoods,” remarked James Parrott, FPI’s deputy director and chief economist.

“In some cases,” Parrott went on, “great disparities exist within neighborhoods. For example, in the West Brooklyn neighborhood stretching from Brooklyn Heights to Red Hook and Park Slope, white male unemployment was three percent, while in the same neighborhood, 46 percent of black men were jobless.”

According to FPI, as of the third quarter of 2009, 10.9 percent of Brooklyn’s work force was out of a job. Citywide, the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent. In the Bronx, the unemployment rate was 13 percent. However, the Bronx’s estimated labor force was less than half of Brooklyn’s (545,000 compared to 1,146,000).

To analyze trends in different neighborhoods, FPI divided Brooklyn into eight geographic areas. Of them, the highest unemployment rate was in the area that included East New York, Starrett City, Brownsville and Ocean Hill where, according to FPI, 19.2 percent of the labor force is out of work. The neighborhood also had the lowest median income, $30,000.

Other neighborhoods where the unemployment rate exceeded the citywide average were central Brooklyn – including Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights – where the unemployment rate was 14.8 percent;and Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Kensington, where the unemployment rate was 10.6 percent.

Neighborhoods whose residents have fared better overall through the recession include Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Ridgewood and Bushwick, where the unemployment rate was recorded at 7.9 percent;Sunset Park and Boro Park, where the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent; Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Gravesend and Bensonhurst, where the rate of unemployment was 8.7 percent; Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Seagate, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Homecrest, Plumb Beach, Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown, and Mill Island, where the unemployment rate was nine percent; and Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Gowanus, and Cobble Hill, where the overall unemployment rate was 9.9 percent.

One of the most striking findings of the survey is that male blacks have fared particularly poorly throughout the economic downturn, according to FPI, which determined that black men across the borough were considerably less likely to be employed than females or males of other ethnicities.

Overall, across Brooklyn, the unemployment rate for non-Hispanic black men was 21 percent, rising to a whopping 46 percent in the neighborhoods included in Community Boards 2 and 6, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Gowanus, and Cobble Hill.

Citywide, the rate of unemployment for non-Hispanic black men, according to FPI, was 19.9 percent.

Overall, around the borough, the unemployment rate was 13 percent for non-Hispanic black women, 11 percent for Hispanic women, 10 percent for Hispanic men, eight percent for white women and six percent for white men.

The data culled by FPI for analysis came from a monthly survey conducted by the Census Bureau, working with the U.S. Department of Labor.

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