Women of color were among the hardest hit by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Preliminary data suggests this trend has continued in 2021.
By Kyle Sullender, Executive Director, Focus NJ March 1, 2022
As businesses were forced to close and reduce services to stem the spread of COVID-19 in early 2020, overall unemployment in New Jersey rose from 3.8% to 16.6% between March and April. . First quarterly data from the Economic Policy Institute showed that unemployment was higher among black, Hispanic and Asian workers than among white workers despite relative parity between the groups in the fourth quarter of 2019. Data later released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that in all four racial subgroups, the unemployment rate for women exceeded that for men in 2020.
BLS data is presented as an average of the unemployment rate among a given demographic group throughout the year. In 2020, unemployment for women in New Jersey was 10.8%, compared to 8.6% for men.
That year, no group experienced a higher unemployment rate than black women, whose unemployment rate rose from 4.5% in 2019 to 14.6% in 2020. Meanwhile, the most The largest gender gap within the same racial subgroup was between Asian men (6%) and women (10.5%).
Preliminary figures for 2021, released by the BLS in late January, suggest that these disparities have persisted in the second year of the pandemic. Hispanic women continued to experience unemployment at a rate 1.6 percentage points higher than Hispanic men, and black women continued to experience the highest unemployment rate of any group at 10.3% . White men and women experienced unemployment rates of 5.4% and 5.6%, respectively. Data for Asian workers was not included in the preliminary release.
Understanding the different ways New Jersey residents are coping in the post-pandemic economy was one of the key components of a recent Focus NJ Economic Review 2020 statistical update. The report, which now features fully interactive data visualizations for key economic indicators, is available by visiting FocusNJ.org.
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