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Asian Americans are falling behind White workers in the job market
Published on: 2020-09-14
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asian 01Asian Americans are taking a bigger hit during the coronavirus-driven economic downturn than White workers and other job market participants, federal labor data show.

According to the Labor Department's employment report on Friday, the jobless rate for Asian Americans in August was 10.7%. That far exceeds unemployment for White Americans, at 7.3%, and for workers overall, at 8.4%. It also runs counter to the recent trend, in which unemployment historically has been lower for Asian Americans, who consistently have had the highest rate of employment of any major ethnic group in the U.S.

"The unemployment among Asian-American workers increased more than unemployment among White workers in the COVID-19 downturn," said Rakesh Kochhar, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. "Those who could not telework or those who worked in industries in which services are delivered in person, such as restaurants or health care or personal care, were much hit much harder."

A recent report from consulting firm McKinsey found that a large share of businesses in industries that have been hit hardest by the pandemic are owned by Asians, who make up 6% of the U.S. population. For instance, one quarter of all restaurants and hotels in the U.S. are owned by Asian Americans, who also own 17% of retail stores.

McKinsey also attributed part of the outsized impact to racism, saying that in the early stages of the pandemic this spring consumers shunned areas with large concentrations of Asian-owned businesses.

The pandemic has also been particularly deadly for Asian Americans, along with other U.S. minorities, which could be impacting the job market as well. A May report from the Asian American Research Center on Health found that Asians accounted for 14% of all COVID-19 cases in San Francisco, but over half of all deaths.


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