What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Jhacova Williams details the disparities in employment rates for Black workers during the COVID-19 recession, mirroring the 2008 recession.
• What role can funders play in creating an equitable economy?
• Read about the need for Black labor leaders.
This COVID-19 recession/recovery is akin to a schoolyard game of kickball. As the economy tries to rebound, companies are adding workers to their team, yet a group is being picked last—Black workers.
This isn't the first time, either. When the Great Recession began, Black workers' unemployment rate increased to double digits and remained that high for more than six years. In comparison, the unemployment rate among white workers never reached double digits during the Great Recession or its recovery.
It took more than 10 years for Black workers' incomes to return to their pre-recession levels.
While some may point to differences in education, age, and experience to explain these differences, these factors do little to explain racial disparities in employment. In fact, at every education level, Black workers have higher unemployment rates compared to their white counterparts. For example, Black workers with college degrees have unemployment rates similar to that of white workers with high school diplomas.
Despite this history, the beginning of 2020 arrived with positive news: the unemployment rate among Black workers was the lowest ever (although still double that of white workers). Of course, from March to April everything changed for everyone because of the pandemic. In April, Black workers' unemployment rate was 16.7% compared to a rate of 14.2% for white workers.
Read the full article about Black workers impacted by the COVID-19 recession by Jhacova Williams at RAND Corporation.