Persisting Economic Struggles Impact Americans Unequally

Black Americans are disproportionately suffering the economic costs of COVID-19 as well as its health impacts.

Since the pandemic began, 42.6 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the U.S. New unemployment claims data from the Department of Labor show 1.877 million new claims were filed last week, dropping from the previous week’s total of 2.126 million.

Although initial claims have started decreasing week over week, continuing claims rose by 649,000 since the previous week to total 21.5 million in a sign of continued economic strife.

And the unemployment rate among Black Americans rose to 16.8% in May despite overall employment dropping to 13.3%. A recent TransUnion survey finds that among Americans impacted by the pandemic, 25% of those from minority groups have lost their jobs, compared to 15% of white Americans.

Seventy-one percent of Black consumers are concerned about paying their bills and loans, compared to 61% of white consumers. And 58% of Black consumers are being impacted financially, compared to 52% of white consumers.