COVID-19 Layoffs Hitting Minority Groups Hardest


Closures as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic created unemployment that surpassed the worst dips of last decade's Great Recession. a majority of layoffs were temporary, reflected in improved hiring numbers to close the months of May and June. However, figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and analysis from various news outlets demonstrate disparities in recovery that underscores the importance of diversity hiring practices. 

The June 2020 BLS jobs report shows an overall unemployment rate over 11%. Unemployment figures for Black, Asian and Hispanic/Latino workers is closer to 15% each. 

Demographic breakdowns explain some of the issue, as industries hit particularly hard in the months of quarantine and phased-in reopenings employ higher percentages across some of these groups. Black representation in Leisure/Hospitality, for example, is over 13%; Latino/Hispanic workers make up 24% of the industry. 

Leisure/Hospitality has a staggering unemployment rate over 28%. Despite having the highest reported number of hires in June, the gains are modest in comparison to what the industry lost as this FiveThirtyEight infographic demonstrates. , 

Statistic: Unemployment rate in the United States by industry and class of worker in June 2020 | Statista
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Reported COVID cases experiencing another spike as summer progresses suggests Leisure hiring may be likely to stall. That has a ripple effect that can impact other industries, like Construction -- which has weathered COVID much better than during the disastrous Great Recession -- and Manufacturing. Both industries employ high percentages of Black and Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Manufacturing is a leading employer of Asian Americans. Women in the workforce, meanwhile, remain unemployed at a higher rate than men despite slightly higher new employment in June.

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