Economic Gap Widens for Blacks

Your Take: A recent report calls on policymakers to address racial inequality in jobs and income.

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But targeted job-creation measures can especially benefit communities of color. Infrastructure investments in roads, transportation systems and schools can help to both boost economic growth and jobs in manufacturing and construction, where many people of color find employment. Similarly, more federal support to struggling state and local governments tends to offer disproportionate job benefits for African Americans, since they are relatively more likely to work for state and local government than whites. And, the jobs that are created should be quality jobs -- they should provide strong wages, health insurance, paid sick leave and retirement benefits.

Policymakers also need to address persistent racial and ethnic inequities that go beyond jobs. We highlight a number of policy measures that could begin to shrink some of these inequities. They include higher minimum wages, stronger unemployment insurance and better workforce development mechanisms to ensure that communities of color find more pathways to high-quality jobs.

Communities of color will continue to suffer if policymakers wait to implement targeted policy measures that can start to shrink racial and ethnic inequities. It will take a long time for families to recover the economic security they lost, and targeted policy measures will both accelerate the recovery and ensure that all households equitably share in it.

Julie Ajinkya is a policy analyst for Progress 2050 and Christian Weller is a Senior Fellow at American Progress.

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