The American job market is reeling from the economic sucker-punch of the global pandemic. The result is unemployment at an unprecedented rate, with masses likening it more to the Great Depression rather than to the recession of 2008.
As of June 2020, 11% of all Americans are facing unemployment. That’s 17.8 million people. But this statistic is more complex than it seems. The economic decay unevenly affects minorities of race, class, economic status and even nationality.
While the job hunt is tougher than ever for the average white-collar American, minority groups and the underprivileged are bearing the brunt of the broken job market. With stay-at-home orders keeping people indoors, the responsibility of maintaining the illusion of ‘normal’ life fell on essential workers such as local grocery store workers, restaurant staff, social workers, pharmacists, caregivers, and energy workers (electricians, engineers, telecommunications, etc.), to name a few. Even then, layoffs were plentiful, scarring industries ranging from restaurants and hospitality to media companies.
Moreover, people who work these jobs are disproportionately represented when race demographics are taken into consideration. Essential workers, who generally belong to minority ethnic groups, are at greater risk due to their constant contact with the public, coupled with lack of sick days and the inability to work from home. Data has proven that African-American and Hispanic/Latinx individuals are more likely to be disadvantaged by the virus, leading to unemployment and sometimes even death. The economy is splintered, and the most neglected are expected to pick up the pieces.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “inequities in access to high-quality education for some racial and ethnic minority groups can lead to lower high school completion rates and barriers to college entrance. This may limit future job options and lead to lower paying or less stable jobs.” Having plenty of options is imperative. But the hunt can be daunting, often leaving people stranded in a maze of confusion.
The quest for employment reaches a heightened level of complexity when the “melting pot” feature of the United States is taken into consideration. In 2019, 17.4% of the American workforce were made up by foreign-born workers. That’s 28.4 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with Asians* and Hispanic people making up the majority. The joblessness crisis faced by them is testament to the inadequate workplace protections that foreign-born workers receive. Unwelcoming immigration policies and unscrupulous employment practices that exploit many of their inability to speak, read or write English are historic. Such injustices are still practiced today, reports The Washington Post. International workers could buckle under the weight of the groaning job market in the effort to achieve the American Dream.
This series will look into the problems and possible solutions on offer to ease the stress of finding the perfect job, given ever-changing global circumstances. We will be paying closer attention to some affected groups, like essential workers and international college graduates, to highlight the gravity of the situation. QuickieJobs recognizes the worry and aims to reduce it. Sign up here.
*primarily people from China and India