The U.S. economy’s record run of job growth and historically low unemployment has been stopped in its tracks by the fight against the coronavirus pandemic: joblessness hit 14.7% in April, and even if it starts to fall in coming weeks there will be scars.
And the scars are deeper for some than others. Just as the decade-long recovery had begun to dent some of the disparities in the U.S. labor force, the wave of layoffs beginning in mid-March and continuing last month has widened them again.
By race: Blacks and whites each saw a rise of about 10 percentage points in the unemployment rate. But the unemployment rate among Latinos jumped nearly 13%, possibly reflecting the steep job losses in the hospitality industry.
By education: The unemployment rate at least tripled for every major education category. But that still left the rate for those with college degrees in the single digits, at 8.4%. By contrast, more than 21% of those without a high school degree were jobless.
By gender: Men and women had about equal unemployment rates going into the pandemic. The initial rounds of layoffs hit women slightly harder, possibly reflecting the deeper hit in the service industries.