By Natalie Spievack, Jorge González, Steven Brown
Since the national emergency declaration for COVID-19, more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance, and economic forecasts place the United States on the path to recession. No group has escaped the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, but today’s US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on nationwide, industry-level job loss data (the first evidence showing how racial and ethnic groups have fared across industries amid COVID-19) show that job losses have hit Latinx workers harder than any other group.
For the first time since 1973, when the BLS began tracking unemployment by ethnicity, the Latinx unemployment rate is the highest of all racial and ethnic groups, at 18.9 percent in April. The unemployment rate is 16.7 percent for Black people, 14.5 percent for Asian people, and 14.2 percent for white people (though it’s likely even higher for all groups, as these survey data reflect responses collected during the week of April 12 to April 18).
A long legacy of exploitation and occupational segregation of workers of color has disproportionately concentrated Latinx workers in low-wage industries, many of which have proven most vulnerable to layoffs during this crisis. Understanding the disproportionate unemployment risk facing Latinx people can inform strategies to help workers hit hardest by the COVID-19 employment crisis. (Read more)