Racial Gaps Persist in California’s Labor Market

Tanu Henry and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

A Public Policy Institute of California report released last week on labor force participation within the state indicated that racial gaps continue to exist in the state.

“White Californians have the highest participation rates (86%), and Black Californians the lowest (81%),” states the report.

“In terms of gender, Latino, White, and Asian men have very similar labor force participation rates (around 91%), with Black men 7 percentage points lower (83%). Among women, Latina women have the lowest participation rate (74%),” it continues.

At 89%, Black women have a higher labor participation rate than Black men.

“Overall, gender gaps in labor force participation rates are lowest among Black Californians (5 percentage points) and highest among Latinos (17 percentage points),” the report reads.

The report also found strong correlations between levels of education and the labor participation rate. For example, Black Californians without a high school diploma have the lowest participation rates across all ethnic groups, at 48%.

“Among, college graduates of all race/ethnic groups have high labor force participation rates, and differences between groups are generally small,” the report states.

Overall, California is experiencing declining participation in the workforce, due mainly to the state’s aging population.

In its conclusion, the report advises policymakers to take steps like implementing training programs and assisting young mothers with childcare, among other solutions, to help increase labor participation. These actions could lead to more than one million additional Californians joining the workforce.

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