Print Friendly and PDF

New Report Highlights Strategies for Inclusive Recovery, Equitable Future of Work: National Equity Atlas

A new report by National Equity Atlas, in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, highlights the urgent need to center low-income communities and people of color in both the ongoing Covid-19 recovery and in the long-term vision for a just and fair society.

It is a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. This report will be followed by a series of 10 regional-level reports – including one on Detroit – with tailored data and recommendation for high-impact and racially equitable workforce strategies.

With in-depth analysis of disaggregated equity indicators and labor market dynamics, the report revealed that white workers are 50% more likely than workers of color to hold good jobs, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the U.S. economy by $2.3 trillion per year. Read the full report here.

Highlights include:

Growing diversity underscores the urgent need for racial economic inclusion.

—America’s workforce is rapidly growing more diverse. In 1980, people of color were just one-fifth of the U.S. population; today, they are double that share. People of color make up about 38% of the U.S. workforce ages 25–64, and nearly half of the population under 25.

—Racial inequity is a drag on economic growth. In 2018 alone, the U.S. economy could have been $2.3 trillion stronger if there had been no racial gaps in wages or employment for working-age people. Without a change in course, the cost of exclusion will grow as the workforce becomes more diverse.

Systemic workforce inequities undermine economic security and mobility, and threaten the stability and growth of the nation’s economy.

—Higher educational attainment is critical but insufficient to eliminate workforce inequities. Higher education significantly narrows racial gaps in labor force participation and employment but does not equalize income. Median wages are higher for white workers with a high school diploma and no college ($19/hour) than for Black workers with an associate degree ($18/hour).

—Workers of color face a significant good-jobs gap. Controlling for educational attainment, people of color are underrepresented in good jobs (defined as jobs that are well-compensated, stable, and resilient to automation) by 1.6 million workers. Among workers with no postsecondary education – a group that includes two-thirds of workers of color and about half of White workers – white workers are about 75% more likely than workers of color to hold good jobs.

The COVID-19 recession is exacerbating pre-existing workforce inequities.

—The early rebound in labor-market demand is leaving workers of color behind. Over the past few months, the unemployment rate for white workers has decreased faster and is currently much lower than the rates for Black, Latinx, and Asian or Pacific Islander workers. Racial gaps in employment have widened since April, erasing short-lived progress in closing these gaps the previous year.

—Black workers in particular have not recovered from the early spike in unemployment as quickly as other workers, despite the fact that demand for the occupations they held before the crisis has returned more quickly than demand for other jobs.

—Job recovery has been concentrated among low-wage occupations that require minimal preparation. Demand for jobs that require little or some experience or education is up by about 16% from its February baseline, while demand for jobs that require considerable or extensive preparation is down by more than 20%.

Automation is accelerating in the wake of the pandemic, and it disproportionately places people of color and immigrants at risk of being dislocated from their jobs.

—Latinx workers face 28% greater automation risk than white workers, and Native American and Black workers face 21% and 18% more risk, respectively.

To view the full report, click here.