Employment: In an equitable economy, everyone who wants to work would have a good job.
Insights & Analyses
- Between 2000 and 2019, 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, consisently twice the rate of their white counterparts.
- The labor force participation rate for women has remained below that of men since 2000. In 2019, Latinx women had a labor force participation rate of 72 percent, compared to 90 percent for Latinx men.
- Native American and US-born Black adults had the lowest employment-to-population ratios among all groups by race/ethnicity and ancestry from 2010 to 2019.
June 24, 2021: An Equitable Recovery Means Ensuring the Economic Security and Prosperity of All Workers, Especially those Hardest Hit by the Pandemic
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
- Grow new good jobs by making smart investments in infrastructure projects, supporting economic development strategies to grow high-opportunity industries, and helping entrepreneurs of color start and scale-up their businesses.
- Reduce employment barriers for people with records by "banning the box" asking about conviction history on job applications (for private as well as public employers).
- Connect unemployed and underemployed workers to the jobs created by new development through targeted local hiring, community workforce agreements, and community benefits agreements.
- Invest a portion of infrastructure investments in job training.
- Implement sector-focused workforce training and placement programs and apprenticeships that create pathways to good jobs for workers with barriers to employment.
- At the federal level, institute a federal jobs guarantee, dedicate 1 percent of infrastructure investments to a fund for inclusive job and contracting supports, set aside a share of public contracts for businesses owned by people of color to mirror area demographics, reform the Community Reinvestment Act to expand access to fair financial products and services for entrepreneurs of color, and ensure that releasees from federal prison receive essential identification documents to support job attainment.
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
- Reports: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Black and Latino Families’ Employment and Financial Well-Being; 10 Principles for a Federal Job Guarantee; Exploring Targeted Hire; Despite Continued Job Growth, Long-Term Unemployment Persists; Hiring Bias Blacks And Latinos Face Hasn't Improved In 25 Years
- Data: Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker (Low-Income Employment); Metro Monitor; State of Working America; Understanding Long-Term Employment