The unemployment rate is dropping but Black women are not a factor in this increase. According to CNBC, the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.2% in the U.S but Black women are still unemployed at higher rates. Data has shown that while unemployment rates are dropping for white people, it is at 9.9% for Black people. For Black women in particular, the employment rate is 9.7% lower than it was in February 2020. Unemployment rates for white men, white woman and Black men have dropped.
Kate Bahn, an economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said it may take years for Black women to recover from this blow to the job market.
“Whoever was hit the hardest takes the longest to recover,” Bahn told CNBC. “Once we are long into the recovery, employment levels and income levels may not fully recover for years. Women are slightly more represented in some sectors like leisure and hospitality and food service. We’ve also lost health care jobs, particularly low wage health care jobs that are disproportionately held by women of color.”
Kristen Broady, a fellow in economics studies at the Brookings Institution, added that Black women not being able to afford or find child care has played a role in the spike in unemployment.
“In other recessions, children were still in schools,” Broady said. “If you can’t afford child care and are a single mom, you can’t go to work. And that’s more likely to affect Black and Hispanic women.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, Black folks have been leaded the unemployment rates since the start of the pandemic. They noted that “in the first quarter of 2020, African American workers had the highest unemployment rate nationally, at 6.3%, following by Hispanic workers (at 4.8%), white workers (at 3.1%), and Asian workers (at 2.9%).” The states with the highest unemployment rates in 2020 were District of Columbia at 11.3%, followed by Pennsylvania at 10.2%, Louisiana at 10.0%, and Mississippi at 9.1%.