Unemployment is down; poverty isn’t.

Unemployment in King County has plunged from peak of 9.6% in early 2010 to only 4.5% in October of 2014. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except that poverty hasn’t budged. As this month’s update of poverty data shows, 12% of King County residents of all ages and 16% of children under the age of 18 still live in poverty — exactly the same rates as in 2010. Because more people live in King County now than in 2010, though, these percentages include about 20,000 more residents in poverty. Updated data on poverty by race/ethnicity show a similar lack of improvement. Especially troublesome is the finding that more than 1 in 3 Blacks in King County was living below the Federal Poverty Threshold in 2013 — a significantly higher rate than that of almost all other racial/ethnic groups. While beneficial to many, our county’s “economic recovery” is decidedly uneven.