With a 3.6% unemployment rate, the U.S. economy is clearly recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic at record speeds. However, the economic recovery has shown the impacts of continuing systemic racism and discrimination in the labor market. For many Black men — older and disabled Black men in particular—continue to experience persistent gaps in both employment and economic opportunity. For Black and Latinx women, the employment rate still showed declines of 0.8 and 0.4 percentage points greater, respectively (as of Oct. 21), than the overall employment decline from just before the pandemic.

There has been renewed focus on the root causes of this uneven recovery to help inform solutions. Researchers and thought leaders are examining the pre-existing systems and conditions such as occupational segregation that pushed Black & Brown women into lower-wage jobs with limited or no protections or opportunities for upward mobility. In California, for example, the median annual wage among the most common jobs for Latinx women is only $27,000. Black women in California are more likely than any other group to struggle economically at all education levels. This has long-term implications for economic security and mobility for both women and their families.

Attendees joined us for this conversation to better understand both the root causes of economic inequity and associated solutions to these historic challenges, including:

  • Data highlighting the drivers and impacts of labor market inequities
  • Specific policy solutions to address these drivers and build income and wealth
  • A workplace equity framework for economic justice; and
  • Where funders and economic justice advocates should focus their efforts to address key drivers and support solutions

Leslie Payne (moderator), The James Irvine Foundation
Kung Feng, Jobs for Justice
Michelle Holder, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Anne Price, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
Read their Bios