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Unemployment down except for Asian Americans

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The Wall Street Journal reported today the unemployment rate in August fell for every major ethnic group except Asian Americans.

Joblessness among Asians remained steady at 10.7 percent while it fell for Blacks, Hispanics and Whites.

“Asian-owned businesses are overrepresented in sectors that have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” the consulting firm McKinsey said to CBS. However, “the pandemic has exacerbated anti-Asian xenophobia and racism, which have historically acted as barriers to equity.”

Income inequality among Asian Americans is particularly high, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. For those in higher earning jobs, it may take them longer to find a new job.

At the same time, those Asian Americans working in the service sector are in industries that have been slow to recover from the pandemic. The two factors both have lead to higher unemployment among Asian Americans, according to Marlene Kim, who authored the study.

“Anecdotally you hear that business are hit especially hard in Chinatowns, driven by Americans who for some reason think that Chinese Americans are more likely to have the virus because it was first detected in China,” Kim told CBS MoneyWatch. “But generally, Asians are more likely to live in metropolitan areas, which have had higher COVID-19 infection rates.”

Overall, the unemployment rate nationwide is 8.4%, down from 10.2% in July. However, joblessness for Blacks, Hispanics and Asians all remain above 10 percent. The Black unemployment rate is 13% while its 10.5% for Hispanics. White unemployment is at 7.3%.

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