Giving Compass' Take:
- Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming highlight racial disparities evident in unemployment trends documented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary for January 2021.
- Why are some demographic groups consistently more vulnerable to unemployment than others? How can you support policy that strengthens pathways to reliable, high-quality jobs for members of historically disadvantaged communities?
- Read about America's racial wealth gap.
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its Employment Situation Summary for the month of January, showing that the labor market’s path toward a recovery lost steam over the past few months. In December, the U.S. economy shed 227,000 jobs, breaking a seven-month streak of net job gains. In January, less than 50,000 jobs were added, making December and January the worst months for employment since April, when more than 20 million workers lost their jobs.
At 9.2 percent, the unemployment rate for Black workers fell 0.7 percentage points between mid-December and mid-January, but continues to stand above the jobless rate of any other major racial or ethnic group. The unemployment rate for Asian American workers was the one to increase between December and January, jumping from 5.9 percent to 6.6 percent. The jobless rate for Latinx workers stands at 8.6 percent and for White workers at 5.7 percent.
Occupational and industrial sorting by race, gender, and ethnicity explains an important chunk of the disparate effects the coronavirus recession has had on different groups. For instance, workers holding jobs that require in-person interactions face a higher risk of unemployment. Yet, research also finds that job segregation does not tell the full story. Case in point, a recent study finds that even when accounting for factors such as industry and occupation effects, age, geographic region, and education, women workers and workers of color were more likely than White men to lose their jobs, with Black and Latina women facing the greatest risk of becoming unemployed as the coronavirus recession hammered the U.S. labor market between March and April.
Read the full article about employment during the pandemic by Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming at Equitable Growth.