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African Americans’ unemployment rate has jumped for a second consecutive month, with 267,000 more unemployed Black Americans since April.

African Americans’ unemployment rate has jumped for a second consecutive month, with 267,000 more unemployed Black Americans since April, reports Bloomberg. This equates to about 90% of the 300,000 increase in overall joblessness during that period. 

Although the overall employment rate decreased this month to 3.6%, Black unemployment rose for the second straight month in June at 6%, almost double that of white workers.

The economy and Black unemployment

Historically, research on racial patterns of the labor market status shows that Black workers are often among the first to be fired as the economy weakens. 

A 2014 study also found that managerial diversity plummets when companies downsize. During the 2007-1009 Great Recession, unemployment among BIPOC reached levels that hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression.

Black and Latine households lost 48% and 36% of their wealth during this period, compared to 24% for white families.

A canary in the coal mine?

The recent employment decline could be a canary in the coal mine for the broader labor market.

“If conditions continue to weaken, or even accelerate, the gains won by Black workers and other vulnerable groups could diminish quickly,” said William Rodgers, director of the St.Louis Fed’s Institute of Economic Equity.

The unemployment rate for Hispanic and Asian workers also rose. However, it’s assumed that’s because those workers entered or returned to the labor market.

Black Americans, however, are leaving the workforce after improvements in their labor participation reached a 15-year high earlier this year.

Now, employment for them has declined by 3% in three months, one of the most significant drops on record.

A reverse in progress?

These figures come when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion roles decrease and key figures leave.

With the media industry losing DEI leaders with layoffs and resignations, it looks like a reverse in progress since the Covid19 pandemic.

Roles for DEI first spiked during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, with tech companies, in particular, pledging to boost diversity efforts.

However, the bigger picture shows that the number of companies without DEI programs has increased from 15% in 2020 to 20% in 2022.

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