Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Report Finds Economic Conditions Decline for Minorities and Women

Based on its analysis of government economic data, The Opportunity Agenda, a public interest group based out of New York, has released a report that finds that economic conditions declined faster for minorities and women during that past several years than for white Americans.  The report, titled The State of Opportunity in America, finds unequal barriers and unequal opportunity for minority groups.  Released on the eve of President Obama’s first State of the Union speech, the report calls on government officials to address racial and gender disparities in opportunity, and to closely track the numbers that indicate changes in these disparities including employment, wages, poverty, and education.

“The findings refute the conventional wisdom that stark racial and gender disparities will naturally diminish or disappear if the overall economy improves,” said Alan Jenkins, Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda. “Promoting greater and more equal opportunity must become an important and explicit consideration in future public investments and programs.  Opportunity doesn’t just happen; it requires bold leadership, innovative ideas, and public attention.”

One example of the concerning findings in the report is the rate of increase in unemployment numbers for Latinos versus the overall figure.  While national unemployment increased 2.5 percent from 2008 to 2009, Latino unemployment increased by 3.5 percent.  In regards to education, the numbers show no significant improvement in the differences in college graduation rates for Latinos and the national average.  Since at least 2007, Latino youth are only 33 percent as likely to attain a bachelor’s degree as white youth.

The report call on all levels of government that handle publicly authorized or publicly funded projects to prioritize equitable job creation, small business development, fair lending, and other practices that will help narrow the opportunity gap in the country.  The report also calls for better enforcement of equal laws that safeguard against discrimination along with more active implementation of social programs like federal scholarships, childcare tax credits, and healthcare clinics for underserved groups.

To view the report analyzing the updated indicators, go to www.opportunityagenda.org/stateofopportunity/measuringequality and to view the updated equality indicators, go to www.opportunityagenda.org/stateofopportunity/indicators/equality.