The coronavirus has set America’s Black labor force back more than 40 years.
Since the mid-1970s, the share of African Americans working or actively looking for a job has consistently stayed above 60%. But back in April, when the world was still gauging the early economic fallout of Covid-19, the Black labor force participation rate plunged to 58.6%, the lowest level since 1974. Though it has since come off those depths, the rate remains below 60%.
Economists see this as a worrying indicator of the disparate recovery between Black and white workers. While the labor force participation rate for white Americans took a similar dive earlier this year, it didn’t sink as low.
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