"There is no greater economic challenge facing Milwaukee than the crisis of joblessness among black males in the city. This study presents the most up-to-date analysis available of recent trends, examining racial disparities in the city and regional labor markets, and placing Milwaukee's record in comparative and historical context. Our chief finding is that Milwaukee's 30-year trend of near-linear growth in black male joblessness peaked in the city in 2003 at 51.3 percent and declined to 44.1 percent by 2005. In addition, by 2005, racial disparities narrowed somewhat in the city and region, and Milwaukee's black-white employment gap moved closer to the average of other Northeast-Midwest cities and metropolitan areas. Nevertheless, the black male jobless rate remains unacceptably high in Milwaukee, with black male joblessness here ranking second highest among comparable Northeast-Midwest metropolitan areas in 2005. Civic leadership in Milwaukee, we contend, continues to lack the vision, policies, and institutions to comprehensively attack and meaningfully alleviate the crisis of race and jobs in the city and region."
UW-Milwaukee's Center for Economic Development lays out the crisis of black unemployment and its causes.