By Lesley Green-Rennis
- The Black unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%, higher than any other ethnic demographic
- 16% of Latinx workers and 20% of Black workers have the ability to work from home
Black and Hispanic Americans are feeling just how economically problematic the coronavirus pandemic is. Their households are less financially secure, tend to have more costly debt, and pay more for installment credit card and auto loans. These uncertain times have certainly already set us back, since the Black unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%, higher than any other ethnic demographic.
Why This Matters: Did you know that college educated minorities are less likely to weather financial storms than their white peers? Almost 30% of Black college-educated households, and 20% of Latinx college-educated households, would not be able to afford to pay all their bills after a $400 emergency expense. These figures increase to nearly 60% and 50%, respectively, for non-college-educated Black and Latinx households. They can’t just work from home because only 16% of Latinx workers and 20% of Black workers have that ability, compared with 30% of white workers.
During the last recession the top 1% captured 85% of post-recession income growth from 2009 to 2013
When we look across various business sectors, Black and Latinx workers are overrepresented in the restaurant and hotel industry. These are two of the main industries facing shutdowns in response to the pandemic. Furthermore, Black workers often hold occupations that are less stable, such as jobs in retail, home health and the service industry. These same jobs are less likely to offer comprehensive benefits and lack job security during major economic downturns.
Situational Awareness: With little to no liquid wealth and vulnerable job prospects, Black and Latinx families will face greater housing insecurity, including exposure to eviction and foreclosure, which in turn will exacerbate the racial wealth gap. During the last recession the top 1% captured 85% of post-recession income growth from 2009 to 2013. Given that Black and Latinx populations will form more than 50% of the American population by 2050, the economic damage associated with COVID-19 will likely result in an American crisis for generations to come.
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