Black Americans “Stay in the Van” of the Nation’s Economy Train | Editorials


Black Americans “stay in the van” of the nation’s economy train

Bernard Anderson, chief economic adviser to the National Urban League, warns that “a high rate of job creation generated by monetary policy will not close the racial employment gap.”

Black Americans “stay in the van” of the nation’s economy train

Racial discrimination plays a role

While the U.S. economic recovery has continued at a steady pace, racial disparities in hiring continue to weigh on the African-American labor market, according to the Department of Labor’s August employment report.

It doesn’t seem mathematically possible, but the employment of white workers increased by 1.1 million in July, compared to just 12,000 for black workers.

A National Urban League analyst calls it “a wide gap in relative job growth.”

While it’s good news that the black unemployment rate has dropped a percentage point to 8.2%, the white unemployment rate is considerably lower at 4.8%.

“African Americans stay in the van as the economic train steadily moves towards recovery and full employment. There is a big gap in relative job growth, ”according to the National Urban League.

Bernard Anderson, chief economic adviser to NUL, wrote in his economic outlook published on September 3 that the policy changes are crucial to increasing the employment rate of blacks.

“A high rate of job creation generated by monetary policy will not close the racial employment gap. The application of public policies aimed at eliminating racial discrimination in the labor market is necessary to ensure equal opportunities in the labor market, ”he wrote.

The policies include the improvement of education, vocational training, direct employment and the application of anti-discrimination actions.

Anderson calls it “unacceptable” that the black / white unemployment ratio is 1.78 in July, even though it is better than “the perpetual ratio of 2: 1.”

“Strong job growth and falling unemployment have done little to close the racial employment gap. The gap reflects several factors, including the labor force participation rate, the employment-to-population ratio of black youth, and the greater frequency of labor market turnover among black workers compared to white workers.

William Spriggs, a Howard University economist who also works with AFL-CIO, told Marketplace.org that “it is clear that there is discrimination in the labor market.”

“He’s yelling at you,” Spriggs said.

“The unemployment rate for blacks with associate degrees was higher than the unemployment rate for white dropouts. “

He said black workers remain unemployed the longest and remain “the first to be laid off, the last to be hired in our economy.”

Chandra Childers, director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told Marketplace that industries such as leisure and hospitality, local and state government, and child care are major employers of black women and that ‘they bounce back more slowly than other employers.

“Not only do black women work in childcare, but they are also more likely than other groups of women to be the sole providers of their household, which means that childcare is becoming more and more important, ”Childers said.

The July jobs report showed long-term unemployment at 8 million workers, “well above the level reported before the pandemic.”

Additionally, the pandemic has destroyed many small minority-owned businesses across America that are unlikely to return during the economic recovery.

According to Anderson, “There is little evidence that the elimination of supplementary unemployment compensation has generated an increase in jobs. “

He explains that the delay in returning workers to work includes the childcare responsibilities of women in low-paying jobs and the fear some workers have of contracting the virus if they return to work.

“These conditions reflect the impact of the pandemic in creating the economic contraction, producing labor market adjustments that are not seen in a normal business cycle,” he said.

While efforts to increase the number of black homeowners are supported by HUD Sec. Marcia Fudge and the Biden administration, Anderson wrote, “It is ironic that at a time (when) mortgage rates are at their lowest, housing affordability is out of reach for many due to the widening gap. between supply and demand for housing “.

Home prices rose 18.6% from June 2020 to June 2021. Homebuyers were looking for moderately priced homes, and the median price for a single-family home was $ 360,000 in August. .

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