Recession's Pain Revealed For Hispanics, Artists

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The full impact of the Great Recession is still being calculated, and evidence is mounting that its damage was not equally distributed.

A study out today from the Pew Research Center finds that the wealth of the average white family shrank by 16 percent between 2005 and 2009. For black families wealthy was cut in half. For Latino households, only a third of their wealth remains.

While racial and ethnic disparities in unemployment have been well documented (see our coverage of black male and youth unemployment), the wealth numbers are a new and disturbing indication of the long-term pain that some Americans are in for.

Race and ethnicity aren’t the only determinants of how badly the recession hurt. One’s career also mattered. And as our Arturo Conde reported recently, young New Yorkers in the creative industry face particularly steep obstacles to getting and keeping work.

It might seem a little precious to be worried about opera singers and poets when some young people can’t get a job at a fast food joint. After all, the image of the “starving artist” sacrificing comfort for her art is nothing new. But the fact is creative people help make New York what it is.

And artists are the pioneers of the freelance approach to work that more and more professionals find themselves forced into. If these most flexible of workers are having trouble getting work, how does that bode for the rest of us with conventional salary and benefit packages?

Below, Conde speaks with Don Mathisen about his findings.

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