Asian American New Yorkers experienced highest surge in unemployment during pandemic
Oct 21, 2020 1 min, 42 secs

The pandemic has had severe economic consequences in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in New York City, recent research finds.

The Asian American Federation, a social services nonprofit, recently released a report looking into the impact the virus has had on unemployment in the community.

It found that at the beginning of the pandemic in February, Asian Americans in New York City had a jobless rate of 3.4 percent.

Howard Shih, research and policy director for the Asian American Federation, said the results "point to the precariousness of many Asian low-income workers and the vulnerability revealed by the Covid shutdown.".

The report, which also looked at the growth in state unemployment claims, as well as the impacts the pandemic has had on Asian American subgroups, found that Asian Americans filed at a rate two to five times faster in the weeks between the beginning of April and the end of May, compared to the statewide unemployment claims of the general population.

In a normal year, 1 in 10 Asian American workers were employed in restaurant and food services in New York City, and a fifth of Asian American workers who lived in poverty depended on food service jobs.

"With Filipino American workers being overrepresented in the health care industry relative to their share of the population, the community experienced a greater risk of exposure to the virus than the general population," the report said

A study from UCLA reported that since the start of the pandemic, 83 percent of the Asian American labor force with high school degrees or lower has filed unemployment insurance claims in California, the state with the highest population of Asian Americans

The Asian American Federation report recommends that because the Asian American community is largely an immigrant population, with more than 70 percent being foreign-born, policymakers should improve language access and prioritize marginalized communities in workforce development efforts

And about 1 in 4 Asian Americans in New York City live in poverty, so researchers also recommend that policymakers ensure that all forms of financial assistance are accessible to those who need it, regardless of citizenship status

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