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.”