The more things change, the more they stay the same. A year after the country’s recession slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s economic recovery continues to be uneven when it comes to race and ethnicity.
Among the millions of unemployed Americans who applied for jobs last month, workers of color were the only racial or ethnic group whose unemployment rate increased overall. A NBC report said about 9 percent of black men and 8 percent of black women were unemployed in Augustâwhich represents an increase from the previous month for both demographics.
Throughout history, black people have received the short end of the stick. Since the government has been tracking data by race, black unemployment has nearly doubled the rate of our mayonnaise-colored counterparts.
In the workforce, blacks are more likely to lose their jobs first, regardless of their work experience and skill level. Even when the economy is strong, employment rates for people of color are still below the national average, adding to the evidence of racial prejudice.
Through NBC New, some notable economists have spoken about the role race plays in unemployment:
“It has generally held up that way whether the economy is recovering or downtown,” said William Darity, an economist at Duke University. âAs a result, there has never been much improvement in the black unemployment rate that brought it on par with the white unemployment rate. This applies regardless of the level of education.
âDiscrimination occurs on many fronts,â said Kate Bahn, chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a nonprofit research group. âIt happens in a downturn if you get laid off and then the degree to which hiring picks up, there could be discrimination in hiring as well. It would therefore disproportionately harm black workers. “
“They both face worse opportunities due to structural racism, as well as unique factors related to the pandemic that place them disproportionately at risk positions in response to the public health crisis and the economy. “Bahn said.
In August, more blacks participated in the national job search than in previous months. It’s confusing because the employment rate doesn’t reflect that … racism, may be?