Since the economic recession commenced in December 2007 – as a whole, the jobless rate climbed from about 5 percent to 9.5 percent through June 2010. Joblessness for Asians during this period climbed from 3.7 percent to 7.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the June 2010 rate for African-Americans exceeds 15 percent, while Latinos are just above 12 percent (both well above the average). Whites are just under the broader average at 8.6 percent.
The economic ‘outperformance’ of Asian-Americans brings up the controversial subject of the ‘model minority’ – that is, the stereotype of Asians as highly-educated, family-oriented, law-abiding, and materially successful. Some have reckoned this notion as a myth; while others adhere to it as stark reality. The truth is likely somewhere in between.
Asian-Americans comprise a vast and extremely diverse swath of humanity – including peoples from the Far East, the Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, rendering generalizations impossible.
Plus, if one also includes Persians, Central Asians, Arabs and Turks as ‘Asian’ the picture becomes even more complex
Still, some numbers don’t lie – they indicate that Asian-Americans have had the lowest jobless rates, regardless of gender, age group or region. And this trend has been sustained since 2000, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics first began tracking jobs data among Asians.
A report from the Labor Department late last year indicated that Asians have a disproportionately high presence – on the order of 47 percent – in management and professional jobs – i.e., high-paying positions requiring advanced degrees, compared with 35 percent for the American work force as a whole.
Moreover, while Asian-Americans represent only 5 percent of all U.S. workers, they account for 29 percent of computer software engineers, 20 percent of computer programmers, 17 percent of physicians and surgeons; and 16 percent of computer scientists and system analysts.
In addition, about 30 percent of Asians 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree and almost 20 percent have a graduate degree, compared with 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively, for the U.S. overall