Long-term Unemployment
The number of Americans lining up for new jobless benefits rose slightly more than expected last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, suggesting little improvement in the labor market.

Black Britons are harder hit by recession in the UK than in the US, according to a report by the British Sociological Survey.

More black men are jobless in the UK as a proportion of the unemployment total compared to US figures in the last three recessions, the report's authors said.

The unemployment rate among black British men was higher by 15 percentage points than their US counterparts. In the recession of the early 90s, nearly a third 28 percent) of black British men were out of work compared to around an eighth (13 percent) in the US.

"Overall, there is greater ethnic inequality in Britain than in the USA for both sexes," Prof Li Yaojun of the University of Manchester was to tell the society conference in Leeds.

"This gives a fairly strong indication that the flexible labour market policies adopted in Britain in the last few decades did not protect the minority ethnic groups against the repercussions of recessions.

Highest Unemployment PercentRecessionUSUK
Early 80s17%24%
Black MenEarly 90s13%28%
Highest Unemployment PercentRecessionUSUK
Early 80s12%17%
Black WomenEarly 90s8%17%

"This may be due to the fact that in Britain the mid 1980s and the early 1990s recessions were accompanied and exacerbated by a process of deindustrialisation and restructuring of the economy, and by the retrenchment of the state, which happened much more abruptly in Britain than the US," Li added.

Li blamed successive British governments.

"The overall smaller social inequalities in the USA, with particular regard to gender and ethnicity, suggest that the affirmative action programme did play a positive role in protecting the vulnerable groups, in comparison with [Britain]," Li said.

University of Northampton's Prof Andrew Pilkington said that despite government initiatives and legislation over the last decade, equality and diversity issues have fallen down the agenda.