THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC WORKERS has risen at three times the speed of the unemployment rate for white workers, according to TUC analysis of new ONS employment figures.

The analysis reveals that:

  • The BAME unemployment rate rose from 6.3 per cent to 8.9 per cent between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 41 per cent
  • Over the same period, the unemployment rate for white workers rose from 3.6 per cent to 4.1 per cent, an increase of 14 per cent
  • Around one in 11 (8.9 oer cent) BAME workers are now unemployed, compared to one in 25 (4.1 per cent) of white workers.

The TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Everyone deserves a decent and secure job. But Covid-19 has shone a light on the discrimination in our labour market.  BAME workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic. They’ve been more likely to work in industries like hospitality and retail that have been hit hard by unemployment.

“And when BAME workers have held on to their jobs, we know that they are more likely to be in low-paid, insecure work that has put them at greater risk from the virus. This structural discrimination has led to a disproportionate BME death rate from coronavirus.  Now we are emerging from the pandemic, we can’t allow these inequalities. Ministers must hold down unemployment, create good new jobs and challenge the systematic discrimination that holds BAME workers back.”

The TUC is calling on government to:

  • Create good new jobs: 1.2 million new jobs in the next two years couls be created in clean green infrastructure, and by unlocking public sector vacancies.
  • Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and make employers publish action plans to ensure fair wages for BAME workers in the workplace.
  • Ban zero-hours contracts and strengthen the rights of insecure workers – which will have a disproportionate impact on BAME workers.
  • Publish all the equality impact assessments related to its response to Covid-19 and be transparent about how it considers BME communities in policy decisions.
  • Give more financial support for people who have lost their jobs. Without a boost to universal credit, many will be pushed into poverty.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the unemployment rate for all workers will peak at 6.5 per cent in Q4, 2021. However, the TUC analysis shows the number of BAME people out of work is now far exceeds this worst-case scenario prediction.

* The labour market statistics on which the TUC analysis is based can be read here.

*  Source: The TUC