05/28/2013 09:44 am ET

How High Is African-American Unemployment And Is It Going Down?

Last hired, first fired. It's a cliche of the labor market that becomes an especially bitter reality during economic downturns. In both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the more recent Great Recession, the cliche held particularly true for African-Americans, as we pointed out in this broadcast story about East St. Louis from 2009.

So how are African-Americans faring in the labor market these days? The question is prompted by this email from Dr. Napoleon N. Vaughn of Philadelphia:

What is the unemployment rate for blacks 16-24 with less than high school, high school only, and four years of college?

The answer to Dr. Vaughn's question: Dismal. Indeed, the numbers never cease to stun me.