Asian-American Workers See Biggest Losses in Tepid Jobs Report

Asian Americans saw some of the biggest job losses in January’s employment report, which showed a tepid recovery among all categories of workers.

The Asian American unemployment rate rose to 6.6% last month, compared to a 6.3% jobless rate for all workers, the Labor Department said Friday. The data was surprising because Asian workers saw a significant improvement in employment in December.

This group has been jobless for longer. Nearly half of unemployed Asian Americans had been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer in the fourth quarter of 2020, a bigger share than White, Black or Hispanic Americans.

Asian-American Workers See Biggest Losses in Tepid Jobs Report

Much of this has been due to economic and geographic reasons. Many Asian workers work in industries particularly vulnerable to business closures, and almost one-third of Asian Americans live in California, one of the states hit hardest by pandemic restrictions.

As the labor market struggles to recover from the pandemic, job losses have disproportionately hit minority workers and women. The Black unemployment rate, which fell to 9.2% last month, remains significant higher than all other race groups tracked. Although more women were employed in January than the prior month, the size of the labor force also shrunk as women continue to drop out amid widespread school and day care closures.

A revision to the December jobs numbers reveals that male employment actually fell in both December and January, though they have regained more jobs that were lost during the pandemic than women.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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