African-American Middle Class Eroding As Unemployment Rate Soars The unemployment situation across America is bad, no doubt. But for African-Americans in some cities, this is not the great recession. Its the Great Depression. Take Charlotte, N.C., for example. It is a jewel of the new South. The largest financial center outside of New York City, it's the showcase for next years Democratic National Convention. It was a land of hope and opportunity for many blacks with a four-year college degree or higher. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 19.2 percent. If you add in people who have given up looking for jobs, that number exceeds 20 percent, which, according to economists Algernon Austin and William Darity, has effectively mired blacks in a depression.