New Research Reveals Asian Americans Face Lengthier Periods of Unemployment

Despite having the lowest unemployment rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States, Asian American workers experience the longest duration of joblessness and other labor issues.

According to the Labor Department, Asian unemployment was 3.1% in April. The total U.S. unemployment rate is 3.6% while white unemployment is 3.2%. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report monthly metrics on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander workers.)

Asian Americans had the highest unemployment duration of any racial or ethnic group in 2021, at 21.9 weeks. Asian men’s unemployment averaged 26.1 weeks. Just last month, a report from Equitable Growth revealed that Asian males were unemployed for 46.2 weeks and women for 33.9.

The longer a worker is unemployed, the harder it is to find work again, and if they do, it’s at a lesser income, said research author Sanchez Cumming.

Moreover, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have difficulty transitioning from unemployment to reemployment, according to the Center for Economics, with AAPI women being the least likely to transition into a job after being unemployed in the first quarter of 2022.

Sanchez Cumming said research from prior recessions reveals certain things affect Asian employees’ job searches. Many Asian Americans were born outside of the U.S. Visa-related barriers and not speaking English are labor market disadvantages. Attaining education abroad is also penalized.

Pew Research Center concluded Asian Americans had the most intragroup economic disparities, while Associate Director at American Progress, Lauren Hoffman’s study indicated that Nepali women made 46 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic males made in 2020, whereas Taiwanese women made $1.20.

Hoffman claimed disaggregation is “the only way that we’re going to be able to have comprehensive, broad policy solutions for these issues,”