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Racial Disparities Through Recession and Recovery

12/3/2018 10:00:00 AM

The impacts of the Great Recession were not felt equally by all Minnesotans. How did minority students fare in the job market before, during and after the Great Recession? DEED Project Manager Alessia Leibert uses a variety of metrics in this study to better understand the impact of the recession and recovery by race.

Students who left post-secondary school between 2010 and 2012 faced the toughest labor market in decades, but black and American Indian students suffered significantly more than others. Those gaps started to narrow in 2014 thanks to the economic recovery.

Higher education policies aimed at increasing retention and college affordability among students of color could alleviate these disparities. Ending disparities in higher education, however, isn’t enough to address workplace barriers that prevent racial minorities from securing full-time, stable employment upon leaving the higher education system.

Possible explanations for the disparities are the structural differences in income level between race groups and racial discrimination by employers, both of which can vary with the business cycle. Tight labor markets make it easier for low-income individuals to afford college and induce employers to rely less on perceptions – including racial bias – when making hiring decisions. Here’s a warning and a lesson for the future. Since racial minorities are the fastest-growing segments of Minnesota’s workforce, it is critically important to address racial inequalities in educational achievement and access to full-time employment.

Read Racial Disparities Through Recession and Recovery in Minnesota Economic Trends.




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