Asian American Women unemployment
(MIA Studio/Shutterstock)

Asian American Women Continue to Be Group Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Job Loss

While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, one group continues to be hit especially hard: Asian American women. According to NBC News reporter Katherine Kam, while women as a whole lost 156,000 jobs during the month of December (based on a report from the National Women’s Law Center), statistics show that Asian American women continue to be the group hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. Kam also noted that Asian women are also accounting for the highest rates of long-term unemployment.

“Forty-four percent of unemployed Asian American women have been out of work six months or more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Kam wrote, “compared to Black women at 40.8%, Latina women at 38.3% and all women at 38.6%.”

Employment experts attribute the disparity to the types of employment many Asian American women hold. While there are a number of highly paid Asian American women working in professional roles, there’s an equally large number of Asian American women working in the service sector, including positions in restaurants, leisure, hospitality, retail and beauty. And “it’s the service orientation that has harmed many of them as restaurants, stores and nail salons shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19,” economist Diane Lim told Kam.

Researchers at UCLA have speculated that anti-Asian racism may be an exacerbating factor behind the trend, prolonging unemployment for many Asian American women.

“The increase in discrimination against Asian Americans has manifested financially and commercially as customers, employers and co-workers base their economic behavior on discrimination,” the UCLA report stated. “Anecdotal evidence demonstrates that Asian American businesses, particularly those in ethnic enclaves, have experienced the labor-market impact of COVID-19 earlier and more deeply because of the racialized blaming.”

Kam speculated that Asian American women may also suffer higher and prolonged unemployment due to the makeup of their homes, where multigenerational families and the care of both younger and older family members may fall on their shoulders.

“It’s not just caring for children who are not going to school, but caring for elderly who can’t go outside and basically need to quarantine,” Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the advocacy group National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, told Kam. 

“Faced with seemingly unmanageable responsibilities, Asian American women might opt to leave the workforce,” Kam wrote, “especially if they’re influenced by cultural norms that encourage sacrifice.”

 

D.I. Fast Facts

25.6

Percentage that Asian American unemployment in New York City increased by between February and May of 2020
Asian American Federation

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

FOX News

Fox News Hit With Another Workplace Lawsuit Involving Claims of Sexual Harassment, Gender Bias and Racial Discrimination

Following news in June that conservative opinion outlet Fox News had been fined a record $1 million by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for repeated worksite sexual harassment of female employees and rampant job retaliation, the cable station is now embroiled in another workplace controversy. The Associated…

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton Used Royalties From Whitney Houston’s Cover of ‘I Will Always Love You’ To Support Nashville’s Black Community

As if her efforts to invest in COVID-19 vaccines or help to promote literacy for children weren’t enough, it appears that country music legend Dolly Parton is also a staunch supporter of efforts to help build up the Black community — especially in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee. …

Sheila Jackson Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Becomes Third Black Member of Congress Arrested for Protesting Republican Anti-Voting Restrictions

Last month, we reported on Rep. Joyce Beatty, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, being arrested during a peaceful protest for voting rights reform. A few days later, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia was arrested in a similar protest. And now, less than two weeks after that, a third Black…

DaBaby

Rapper DaBaby Dropped From Chicago’s Lollapalooza Festival Following Series of Disturbing Homophobic and Sexist Rants

Following a hate-filled rant he made while performing at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami, organizers of the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago decided rapper DaBaby was no longer welcome on their stage. Ben Kesslen of NBC News has reported that “the Lollapalooza music festival canceled DaBaby’s Sunday night…

HR Professional

New Study Reveals Diversity Slate of Job Applicants Increases by 118% When Women or POC Oversee Hiring and Recruitment

If your company or organization is looking to increase the diversity of its workforce, studies suggest putting a woman or someone from an underrepresented demographic in charge of hiring. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, when women and/or people of color head hiring committees, it can have a significant…

police officer

APA Study Reveals Police Officers Are More Condescending and Less Respectful to Black Drivers They Pull Over

For any Black man or woman who has ever been pulled over for speeding or a traffic infraction, it’s not just your imagination that police officers are more condescending, aggressive and less respectful. New research from the American Psychological Association confirms that the average police officer speaks to Black drivers…