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SACRAMENTO – Unemployment remains persistently high for Asian, Black, and Latinx Californians, and other Californians of color as well as women six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, according to a new report by the California Budget & Policy Center.

The Budget Center analyzed recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and found California is still down by 1.7 million jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis – about 400,000 more jobs than the state lost due to the Great Recession. In addition, California’s leisure and hospitality industry, which includes jobs at restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues, remains the hardest hit industry. As of August, this industry was still down 657,000 jobs.

“The hundreds of thousands of jobs California lost in the first weeks of the pandemic have simply not returned 6 months into the recession, and many women and Black and Brown Californians who showed up to those jobs every day remain unemployed as business restrictions remain in place because it’s not safe to return to work yet,” said Alissa Anderson, Senior Policy Analyst with the California Budget & Policy Center.

The Budget Center’s new report also shows during the first six months of the recession:

  • Unemployment reached 20% or more for Asian, Black, Latinx and other Californians of color.
  • Black Californians’ unemployment rate has remained essentially unchanged since peaking this summer.
  • Unemployment rose higher for Californian women than men, and remains extremely high at 14% for women and 12% for men.
  • Unemployment for immigrants hit 13% – three times the pre-recession unemployment rate for California immigrants.
  • While California saw job gains in June as some businesses reopened, about two-thirds of the jobs the state lost have not returned.

Federal and state policymakers can help California workers and their families by extending health and economic relief, including providing food and housing assistance, assisting child care providers struggling to stay open, and reinstating enhanced federal unemployment benefits. These policy investments can also address the health and financial disparities that women and Black and brown Californians were bearing long before the pandemic, and are essential to moving the state forward.

Read the full report here: 

Learn more about the Budget Center’s analyses and policy recommendations on economics, health, and COVID-19 issues:


The California Budget & Policy Center engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of Californians with low and middle incomes. Support for the Budget Center comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions.

Media Contacts

Kyra Moeller
Communications Strategist

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