Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers in the UK have been hit harder by job losses during the coronavirus crisis than the population as a whole, according to new research.
The percentage of BAME people in employment fell to 67.4% in April from 72.0% in February, a drop of almost 5%, researchers from the University of Essex and other academic centres said.
Comparatively, non-BAME workers experienced a drop in employment of less than 2%, from 81.1% to 79.4%, according to the research based on data from the long-running Understanding Society survey led by the University of Essex.
The research also showed that fewer BAME people who had lost working hours due to the coronavirus crisis had been furloughed on the government’s job retention scheme than non-BAME people in the same situation.
BAME people were also more likely to be behind on payments on their bills after seeing their incomes decrease due to the coronavirus, and they were also more likely to have borrowed money as a way to balance a loss in earnings.
Paul Fisher, one of the academics who worked on the report, said: “The BAME group is very heterogeneous and many questions remain unanswered.
“Which communities are being hardest hit? Can the different types of jobs done by different workers explain the pattern? These are questions which urgently need answering and further research is needed.”
Meanwhile, in the US, data published last week showed unemployment among African Americans and Asians increased despite the overall unemployment rate falling unexpectedly in May.
The report comes as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked protests around the world, bringing renewed focus to the wider economic inequalities facing BAME people across the globe.