Kevin Rawlinson
The Independent

More than half of young black men wanting work are unemployed and they are twice as likely to be jobless as their white counterparts, new statistics show.

Figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in the last quarter of 2011 unemployment among black 16- to 24-year-olds stood at 55.9 per cent, almost double the 28.8 per cent in the same quarter of 2008. The figures, reported last night, contrast with proportion cited by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which considers 22 per cent a more accurate figure because it includes students and other people who are not available for work.

The ONS also warned that its figures needed to be treated cautiously because they are produced from a relatively small sample.

Unemployment rates for young black men and women combined at the end of 2011 was 47.4 per cent, up from 28.8 per cent three years ago. By contrast, for whites in the same age group, it rose from 15 per cent in 2008 to 20.8 per cent in 2011.

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