According to analysis by the TUC, the unemployment rate for black and minority ethnic workers (BAME) rose at more than twice the unemployment rate than it did for white workers between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020.

The analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the TUC reveals that the BAME unemployment rate shot up from 5.8 per cent to 9.5 per cent between the final quarter of 2019 and the final quarter of 2020 - an increase of nearly-two thirds. Over the same period the unemployment rate for white workers rose from 3.4 per cent to 4.5 per cent - an increase of just under a third. 

Although the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast that the unemployment rate for all workers will peak at 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, the TUC’s analysis shows that the number of BAME people out of work is already far in excess of the OBR’s worst-case prediction. 

The unemployment rate for Black African and Caribbean workers has risen to 13.8 per cent – more than three times the rate for white workers – and one in 10 BAME women are now unemployed.

The new analysis comes as unions, charities and campaigners signed a joint statement calling on the Prime Minister to take the action he pledged last summer to end structural racism and inequality.

The statement calls on the Sewell Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, (set up in response to the disproportionate number of deaths of BAME people during the pandemic), to publish its report into structural racism without further delay. It was due to be issued in January originally.

The joint statement calls on the government to: 

  • Implement in full the recommendations from the seven reports commissioned since 2010: Lammy, Angiolini, Williams (Windrush), McGregor-Smith, Kline, Parker and Timpson;
  • Set out a race equality strategy to guide the coronavirus (Covid-19) response; and
  • Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting.


Read the analysis in full here.