Asian Americans Are Becoming More Unemployed Than White Workers, According to Labor Department

Labor Department

The COVID-19 pandemic has left Asian Americans more unemployed than Whites, according to a recent report from the Labor Department.

As more people returned to work, America’s overall unemployment rate improved from 10.2% in July to 8.4% in August — but many Asian Americans may not be feeling it.


Unemployment had historically been lowest for Asian Americans, which partly earned them the “model minority” recognition.

But the report, which was published on Friday, shows that the group had a jobless rate of 10.7% in August, only a slight change from 12% in July.

The latest figure far exceeds the unemployment rate of Whites, which came at 7.3% in August and 9.2% in July.

Meanwhile, Black and Hispanic workers had a jobless rate of 13% and 10.5% in August, respectively.

The month of August saw employment growth in government, retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services.

Asian Americans, however, are “overrepresented” in sectors that have largely been hit in the health crisis, according to another report from consulting firm McKinsey.

Most notably, the racial group owns 26% of all restaurants and hotels in the U.S., many of which shut down in an effort to curb further financial damage.

McKinsey also cited the fact that the pandemic has exacerbated anti-Asian racism and xenophobia, which have typically acted as “barriers to equity.”


The August overall unemployment rate marks the first time it fell below 10% since March. But while employers managed to add 1.4 million jobs last month, permanent job losses climbed to 3.4 million.

So far, the U.S. has recovered about half the 22 million jobs it lost to COVID-19. The August employment data will be the Labor Department’s penultimate report prior to the 2020 presidential election.

Feature Image via Pixabay (representation only)

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