By Earlene Greene
- In the U.S. contact tracing could create as many as 250K jobs
- The unemployment for Black workers is now 16.8%
As the economy reopens, companies are creating roles to keep employees and customers safe from spreading the coronavirus. This should be good news especially for Black workers since their unemployment rate now stands at 16.8%. A labor market economist told Bloomberg that contact-tracing could create as many as 250,000 jobs in the U.S., leaving many wondering how many of those will actually be filled by Black people.
Why This Matters: The demands for these new jobs as part of the U.S. economy’s reopening include things like thermal scanners, cart wipers, contact tracers and social distancing monitors. All of these roles exist in a very competitive job market as people look to get back to work. Patrick Beharelle, CEO of TrueBlue Inc. said “the $600 a week in supplemental unemployment combined with state unemployment, is often more than the workers can make in one of the new jobs. Meanwhile, the new positions have their own virus risks, and some potential workers will stay home until the virus dissipates.
African-Americans earn less, are quicker to be laid off, and slower to be rehired
Unfortunately, statistics like the current unemployment rate show that Blacks continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic economic fallout. Even last year, as the national jobless rate fell below 4% to its lowest level in half a century, the rate for Black men in Illinois was nearly 10%. African-Americans also earn less, are quicker to be laid off, slower to be rehired and less likely to be promoted. Now, with the onslaught on these new post-pandemic roles it’s still unclear if minorities will get these jobs.
Situational Awareness: Long before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. minorities faced unemployment disparities, economic inequality is not a thing in the past. Only time will tell if the same barriers that existed before the pandemic will exist afterwards. An old adage says, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Hope springs eternal.
CBx Vibe: “Brown Skin Girl” by Blue Ivy, SAINt Beyonce’, WizKid