Equality and Diversity

BAME unemployment rate soars in 2020

The analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the BAME unemployment rates have shot up from 5.8% to 9.5% between the final quarter of 2019 and the final quarter of 2020 , increasing nearly-two thirds

The unemployment rate for BAME (black and ethnic minority) workers has risen at nearly “twice the speed” of the unemployment rate for white workers, according to a new TUC analysis of official statistics.

The analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the BAME unemployment rates have shot up from 5.8% to 9.5% between the final quarter of 2019 and the final quarter of 2020, increasing nearly-two thirds.

Over the same period the results showed that the unemployment rate for white workers also rose, but marginally less from 3.4% to 4.5%.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the unemployment rate for all workers will peak at 7.5% in the second quarter of 2021.

The unemployment rate for black African and Caribbean workers has risen to 13.8%, which is more than three times the rate for white unemployment, with one in 10 BAME women now unemployed.

Commenting on the results, Frances O’Grady, general secretary, TUC, said: “This pandemic has held up a mirror to the structural racism in our labour market – and wider society. BAME workers have borne the brunt of the economic impact of Covid-19, losing their jobs twice as quickly as white workers.

“This crisis has to be a turning point. As we emerge from the pandemic, we can’t allow these inequalities in our workplaces – and our society – to remain. Ministers must stop delaying and challenge the systemic racism and inequality that holds back BAME people.”

Lord Simon Woolley, former chair of the government racial disparity unit, added: “If the government cares about tackling deep seated structural racism it must deliver big now. Anything less will be a kick in the teeth for our communities.

“The government must stop pitting poor black people against poor white people – and effectively deal with systemic race inequality.”

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