Why Black Americans May Face a Slower Recovery from the Recession
By WSJ Noted.
Black workers at every level of educational attainment have
substantially higher unemployment rates than white workers,
according to Labor Department data. The expanding gap signals Black
Americans can expect to have a longer and slower recovery from the
2020 economic recession, regardless of whether they have attended
college or not completed high school.
1. The difference is more pronounced for workers with less
For Black Americans to have the same job prospects as whites,
they often need to hold more-advanced credentials. Black workers
with just a bachelor's degree had a 6.1% average unemployment rate
in the 12 months ended in October, compared with a 4.8%
unemployment rate for white workers with the same level of
education, according to the Labor Department. Black workers with
only a high-school diploma had a 12.1% average unemployment rate
over the past year, above the 7.4% rate for similar white workers,
and above the 10.1% rate for white high-school dropouts.
"Frequently, Black workers need to send additional signals about
their qualifications to get the same job," said Bradley Hardy, an
economist at American University in Washington. "That's why you'll
see a Black person with a master's degree in a job that only
requires a bachelor's."
2. The unemployment gap between Black and white workers has
Black workers have been disproportionately impacted by job
losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in part because they
held more of the jobs that were lost this year, including in the
transportation, hospitality and retail sectors. In June of 2019,
the average unemployment rate for white workers with a bachelor's
was just 0.7 percentage points lower than it was for Black workers,
whereas in October this year, it was 1.2 percentage points
3. The impact could be far reaching.
The discrepancies signal that Black Americans can expect to have
a longer and slower recovery from the 2020 economic recession.
Lower earnings and weaker employment prospects for Black workers
have costs for society overall, said Michelle Holder, an economist
at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. It means fewer
dollars are earned, spent and taxed in Black communities. Higher
rates of unemployment and poverty are associated with less stable
families, higher rates of incarceration and worse health outcomes.
The people living in those communities often require additional
public assistance, such as food stamps and Medicaid. "One way or
another, America will bear the burden of this," she said. "Higher
incarceration, higher Covid-19 deaths of Black people, more tax
dollars spent. The bill will come due."
Read the original article by Eric Morath here.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 02, 2020 20:29 ET (01:29 GMT)
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