Brookfield, WI – There is no escaping inequality in America, especially during a pandemic. Democrat Tom Palzewicz, running for Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District seat, sees that unemployment rates for African Americans and Whites both fell in recent weeks, but cites that African Americans recover at a much slower rate.
Reuters reporter Jonnelle Marte wrote that the gap between black and white unemployment reached a five-year high in June. According to Labor Department figures in July, whites dropped 2.3% to 10.1% from 12.4%, while blacks dropped 1.4% to 15.4% from 16.8%.
“It is difficult to ignore that kind of inequality, but I know that many people will just blame the pandemic and sweep this evidence under the rug,” said Palzewicz. “The Fifth District is racially diverse and we cannot afford to allow any group of people suffer disproportionately, and the data brings that to light. A 5.3% gap is unacceptable.
“This gap is nothing new, it has stood out for decades. The pandemic has hurt all of us and job opportunities for people of color were on the rise, but the recovery exposes the inequality. If you examine the recovery rates following the Great Depression, you will see that it took nearly 10 additional years for African Americans to see any consistent gains.”
In August of 2019, unemployment rate for black workers was 5.4%, the lowest since 1972. Blacks now have the highest rate of unemployment compared to other racial communities. The drop in Black unemployment in recent months has been due largely to women, who returned to jobs in bars and restaurants, or in the retail sector. The unemployment rate for Black women was 14% in June, down from 16.5% in May.
“For our economy to work, we need job inequality to narrow significantly,” said Palzewicz. “Realistically, there will always be gaps and disappointing numbers to deal with, but we need to pull together and work for equality.
Palzewicz will work with others in congress to bring significant change to African American unemployment numbers.