Employment: In an equitable economy, everyone who wants to work would have a good job. 

Insights & Analyses

  • Between 2000 and 2020, the labor force participation rate for workers ages 25 to 64 was higher in the 9-County Bay Area than at the state level for all racial/ethnic groups.
  • Since 2000, Black and Native American workers have experienced the highest rates of unemployment, consistently at least twice the rate of their white counterparts.
  • The labor force participation rate for women has remained below that of men since 2000. In 2020, Latina women had a labor force participation rate of 72 percent, compared to 90 percent for Latino men.
  • Native American and US-born Black adults had the lowest employment-to-population ratios in 2010 and 2020 among all groups by race/ethnicity and nativity identified by the census, while Latinx immigrants had the lowest ratio in 2000.

Drivers of Inequity

A variety of historical and contemporary factors cause Black, Native American, Latinx, and other workers of color to experience unemployment at much higher rates than White workers. Employer discrimination against Black workers has not improved in 25 years: among workers with the same resumes, White applicants receive 36 percent more callbacks than Black applicants and 24 percent more callbacks than Latinx people. In addition, racial segregation and disinvestment mean that students of color have far less access to well-resourced, high-quality schools. Transportation challenges, lack of affordable childcare and housing near job centers, and structural racism in employer hiring practices are also significant barriers to employment. Finally, overpolicing and systemic inequities in the criminal-legal system disproportionately impact Black and Latinx men, who then face employer discrimination due to their criminal records.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to reach full employment for all

Strategy in Action

The tech industry has created a wealth of high-paying jobs, but not all residents have benefited from this growth. To ensure that more residents have the opportunity to tap into this fast growing sector, the Department of Labor and San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development launched TechSF in collaboration with a cross-sector coalition of partners. Founded in 2012, TechSF prepares and connects local residents to good jobs in the technology industry at no cost through programs and services including technical and job-readiness training, career coaching, job placement services, and other professional development opportunities. One evaluation found that three years after the start of the initiative, 62 percent of those who participated in technical trainings were employed with an average hourly wage of $30. Learn more. 

Photo: By Mars on Unsplash

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