One of the most painful aspects of the recession has been the rising economic hardship that has been inflicted upon families and communities across the country during these challenging times. Florida has been at the epicenter of this unfolding crisis, losing more jobs since November of 2008 than nearly every other state. However, even within the Sunshine State, some communities are feeling the pain more than others, and the recent economic downturn has plunged these into depressionlike conditions. Communities of color have been most impacted during the housing crisis and this recession’s corresponding job losses, and these communities were highly marginalized and vulnerable even prior to the recession. Between November of 2008 and November of 2009 Florida saw 284,800 jobs disappear, and in 2009 unemployment in Florida reached 15.4% among African Americans and 11.6% among Hispanics compared with 8.9% for non- Hispanic Whites.
This report examines the economic impact of the recession on Florida’s marginalized communities and populations. The report focuses on the impact of ARRA (or the stimulus) and other economic recovery activity in addressing the widening economic disparities facing Florida’s marginalized communities. The basic premise of this research is simple: Given the severe economic hardships facing Florida’s most marginalized workers, are recovery programs working and sufficient? Are our recovery programs producing economic empowerment for marginalized groups in Florida, and are those efforts sufficient to reverse the unfolding economic trauma facing Florida’s most vulnerable residents?