July 2023 EI Featured Article

"Racial disparities in unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery: The “stubborn,” the “hiccup,” and the “stall”"

by Kenneth A. Couch, Robert W. Fairlie, and Huanan Xu


We examine differential impacts of COVID-19 on minority unemployment in the U.S. beyond the initial recession. The Black-White unemployment gap did not immediately rise as much as for other groups, but subsequently increased and was stubbornly higher through 2021 Q3. The Latinx-White gap generally decreased after peaking in May 2020 to pre-pandemic levels by 2021 Q4, but experienced a unique “hiccup” in early 2021. The Asian-White gap peaked later (in June 2020) and was high in Q3 of 2020 (the “stall”), and remained positive through 2021 Q4. Decomposition methods are used to examine factors that contribute to these patterns.

First published: 03 January 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1111/ecin.13133


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