Rising black unemployment rate hinders U.S. progress in labor market parity
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Despite abundant evidence, black workers are still struggling to find work in the United States Opening, Although the number of unemployed has declined among other population groups, the number of unemployed has increased last month.
This gap has forced economists to question whether the progress made by African American workers in the hot labor market before the Covid-19 crisis will continue beyond the pandemic — or whether the historical gap will continue.
In August, the unemployment rate for black Americans rose to 8.8 Even though the same measures taken against U.S. workers dropped to 5.2% overall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Report last week.
Restaurant owners, store owners and theme park operators have said for months that they cannot hire enough workers to take advantage of the economic rebound in the early summer.Workers’ wages have risen sharply, and some employers have offered flashy Incentives Examples include signing bonuses and car gifts to attract new employees.
But data from the US Department of Labor shows that although 287,000 black Americans joined the workforce or started looking for work last month, fewer people found jobs. In contrast, the white labor force in the United States decreased in August, but the number of employed people increased by 269,000.
“You have black workers see [‘help wanted’] Signs, when companies complain that they can’t find someone, they rushed out to find a job but couldn’t find a job,” said William Spriggs, chief economist of AFL-CIO, a trade union federation and a former labor officer in the Obama administration. Workers say,’Oh, we don’t want to find a job,’ and the few who are looking for a job will find a job. ”
Evelyn Hall, a production assistant working on television productions in New York, is one of the black workers struggling to find a job. Although she worked stably through several short-term contracts in the past year, she was unemployed in August.
“I’m in trouble now,” Hall said.
Hall found a part-time administrative assistant position in early September, but it provided too little time that she is now looking for a second job to supplement her income. She hasn’t found anything yet.
Some economists attribute the recent struggles of black Americans in the job market to their overrepresentation in the service industry, and many companies languishing in the pandemic. Employers in the leisure and hospitality industries did not add new jobs in August, while retail companies laid off 28,500 jobs because of the surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta coronavirus variant.
Spriggs pointed out discrimination. The leisure and hospitality industries also employ disproportionately large Latino workers, but the unemployment rate for this group still fell to 6.4% last month.
Spriggs added that the report also shows that the unemployment rate of black Americans with associate degrees in college is higher than that of whites who drop out of high school.
“The employer is obviously picky,” Spriggs said. “They are not saying that they can’t find someone, but that they can’t find the person they are looking for.”
The unemployment rate for black Americans has almost always been higher Other groups since the government began measuring in 1972. After the 2008 financial crisis, the gap widened, Double-digit unemployment rate Persevere for many years.
But just before the pandemic, as the U.S. economy approaches full employment, this gap is narrowing, pushing the unemployment rate to a record low in 2019.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the black unemployment rate has fallen steadily from its peak of 16.7% in April 2020. It dropped by 1 percentage point to 8.2% in July, and then rose by 0.6 percentage point in August.
Overall, the black unemployment rate has fallen by 7.9 percentage points since April 2020, which is lower than the 9.6 percentage points of the 4.5% unemployment rate for white workers in August.
Monthly employment data is unstable, and recent trends may reverse.Initial last week Unemployment benefits The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that employment in the United States has fallen to a pandemic low.
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Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has said that he is paying attention to racial differences in the job market when making policy decisions.Racial equality activists say the characteristics of President Joe Biden $3.5tn social expenditure The agenda now before Congress can help improve opportunities for disadvantaged workers.
However, the August employment report reignited economists’ concerns about the return of the two-tier job market after the 2008 crisis. Or worry that if the Delta variant triggers another massive slowdown, black workers will fall further behind.
“If we have this repeated, unstable, and unbalanced recovery, if we cannot reach a stronger place, then not only will we have to bear the downside costs, but the people who have to bear the lost profits will be black workers,” employment website Said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.