Business & Investment

Blacks and Hispanic women do not share recovery

Women are waiting in line while food is being distributed at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York on July 22, 2020.

Spencer Pratt | Getty Images

Friday’s employment report showed further signs of a recovery in the US economy with the addition of 379,000 net jobs and a drop in unemployment to 6.2%.

But nevertheless Top line numbers of encouragementThe 2020 plunge and 2021 recovery in the job market have not fallen equally across the US workforce.

Employment data for minority groups, especially colored women, was worse than for early white workers in the Covid-19 recession. The recovery of minority groups has also been delayed.

Differences in the recovery of the employment market were evident in Friday’s employment report, which showed a decline in white unemployment and an increase in black unemployment.

The unemployment rate of white workers fell to 5.6% in February, below the national unemployment rate. However, for black and Hispanic workers, the reported unemployment rates were 9.9% and 8.5%, respectively, higher than in the United States. The entire Covid-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rate for whites peaked at 14.1% in April 2020. Black unemployment peaked at 16.7% in both April and May. Hispanic unemployment peaked at 18.9% in April.

Tougher for women

However, as with racial and ethnic disparities, the unequal effects of the recession are more pronounced in analyzes that include race and gender.

Blacks and Hispanic women, in particular, have suffered a surge in unemployment and the largest decline in the labor force participation rate since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Total black women’s employment is 9.7% lower than in February 2020, before Covid-19 hit the United States, and Hispanic women’s numbers are 8.6% lower. Employment of white men, white women and black men has decreased by 5%, 5.4% and 5.9% since February 2020, respectively.

There are various explanations for this trend, but some economists suggest that it is likely due to occupational segregation, the prevalence of demographics in a particular industry.

“The hardest hits take the longest to recover,” said Kate Burn, an economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a think tank founded by Democratic political consultant John Podesta. Said. “If we work on recovery for a long time, employment and income levels may not fully recover for years.”

“In some sectors, such as leisure, hospitality and food services, the proportion of women is slightly higher,” added Burn. “We also lost health care jobs, especially low-paying health care jobs that are being disproportionately done by colored women.”

The economist is President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus packageExpected to pass the Senate this weekend, it will not only accelerate a widespread economic recovery, but will also help those who have seen their jobs cut. The bill includes a $ 1,400 stimulus check, an extension of weekly unemployment payments until September, and $ 350 billion as state aid to local governments.

Janel Jones, the first black woman to become chief labor economist, wrote last month that this trend was also evident in the public sector, with sudden severances at the state and local levels over the past 12 months. ..

“The loss of local and state governments, leisure and hospitality has a disproportionate impact on the employment of black women. Black women are almost one in four workers in the public sector,” Jones said. I wrote in a blog post dated February 9th.. “Since January 2020, 500,000 black women have left the labor market.”

Breaking down the February job listings by industry, the surge in employment in restaurants and bars boosted 355,000 jobs in the broader hospitality sector last month. These benefits help offset the losses incurred in the last 12 months. Leisure and hospitality as a whole has decreased by 3.5 million, or 20%, compared to February 2020.

Government salaries lost 86,000 workers last month as furloughs continued in public education

Concerns about participation

High unemployment tends to be noticeable and perhaps easy to understand, but it can be more insidious in the long run if the number of women working or looking for a job drops significantly. there is.

The labor force participation rate of black women plummeted from 63.9% in February 2020 to 59.5% in April 2020, the lowest rate since 1993. According to the February employment report, it improved slightly from April to 59.7%.

Historically, women who dropped out of the workforce to care for their children during the recession were unable to find a job in their previous role, withdraw the same wages, and often struggled to return. I did.

Covid’s recession can be exacerbated for women.Unlike previous recessions, the disease forced thousands of people Children leaving school and going home, When childcare obligations apply to women more often. And especially for mothers of families who cannot afford to raise children.

Historically, black women are far superior to black men in the labor market, said Kristen Broadey, an economics researcher at the Brookings Institution and policy director for the Hamilton Project think tank.

The unemployment rate of black women, who Broadey said is likely to be college-educated, is usually lower than that of black men. However, the unique nature of the Covid recession and the consequent childcare issues have disproportionately affected the ability of black women to work.

“In other depressions, the kids were still in school,” Broadey said. “If you can’t afford to raise a child and you’re a single mother, you can’t go to work. It’s more likely to affect black and Hispanic women.”

Blacks and Hispanic women do not share recovery Blacks and Hispanic women do not share recovery

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