A highlight from Why high unemployment persists for Black workers

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Welcome to the brookings cafeteria the podcast about ideas the experts who have them. I'm fred dues. Disparities between black workers and white workers and employment and labor force participation existed long before the krona virus pandemic and the economic recovery following easing of kobe nineteen restrictions. That's been felt unevenly especially for black teens. My guest today discusses her research on this problem. Shares policy ideas for a more equitable economic recovery. Kristen brody is a fellow in the metropolitan policy program at brookings and a professor financial economics on leave at dillard university in new orleans. You can follow the brookings podcast on twitter at policy podcasts. Get information about and links to all our shows including tolerance since the breaking straight podcast. The current events podcast. Kristen welcome to the bookings cafeteria. I'm happy to be here. So one of the areas of research that you've been looking recently is tracking the us unemployment rate by race ethnicity over the past few months. Can you review that data for our listeners. In particular the overall figures for black workers versus white workers. Sure so i've been checking this since the beginning of the pandemic actually but if we look at the last three months so be. Us unemployment rate in may was five point eight percent but if we break it down by race for white people it was five point one percent asian american five point five but tino was much higher at seven point three in black lives the highest nine point one percent for black workers. So we'd go. To june july things get better overall by july so it went out slightly engine to five point nine percent but the down to five point four percent overrun and so we saw these decreases where other races well so for black. It went from nine point. One down to eight point two july for way in may from five point one percent down to four point eight end-july still see the black unemployment rate is by far the highest at eight point two percent in july. Then you also break it down further by gender and also by aids in my understanding. Is that the unemployment rate for black women and younger. Black men and women are higher than all of those averages. Right delauro is interesting. Because end-july the unemployment rates for all of the other groups went down whether slightly or more significantly for everybody except for black teams ages sixteen to nineteen so between june and july. Their unemployment rate went from nine point three percent up to thirteen point three percent so comparing so for the us it went from five point nine to five points where white women age twenty five percent down a four point. Five white men by point to down a four point nine sixteen to nineteen nine eight point two right so those are just some of the comparative rates so it was interesting to see that for black teams. It went up significantly. Even for latino hispanic teens. It went from thirteen point two down to ten point eight. Do want to get to some of your views on the causes and solutions here in a minute. But there's this other data point that we hear a lot about and that you talked about some of your research. And that's the labor force. Participation rate is a different thing than the unemployment rate. Can you explain the listeners. What that is how the different from the unemployment rate. And then what do you see in the data for labor force participation rate again when you break it down by race when you break it down by gender and age those such factors so so the labor force participation rate is the percentage of the working age population that is the civilian non institutional population. It's sixteen or older that is in the labor force. So what does it mean to be on the labor force. It measures how many americans are working or actively seeking work so it's the some of the employee. Population and unemployed workers are unemployed population. Where unemployed means a person who is out of a job but has looked for work within the last four weeks. So if you don't have a job and you've become discouraged. You haven't looked for a job within the last week. Then you don't count in that rate. So while what workers labor force participation rate jumps from sixty

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