New York’s pandemic statistics are shocking in part because nationally, Asian Americans have had among the lowest rates of unemployment in the U.S. — 2.1% in April 2019 — lower than white Americans at 2.9% at that point.
In April 2020, the Asian American unemployment rate spiked to 14.3%, while the unemployment rate among white Americans rose to a lesser degree at 13.8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As the pandemic raged on, Asian Americans consistently saw the highest percentage increases for New York’s jobless claims each week by large margins.
Asian American unemployment filings were up 4,150% compared to the same week last year (22,526 compared to 530 in 2019).
Elizabeth Yang, an attorney who serves on the board of the Los Angeles-based Asian Business Association, lives and works in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, where there is a large Asian American population.