California Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute Issues CA Black Women’s Job Report

By Kellie Todd Griffin

On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, California Black Women’s Collective releases its analysis of data on the employment situation of Black women workers across the state of California. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on California’s labor market during the month of June 2023.

Black women in California have been re-entering the labor force in growing numbers since January 2023. Despite a small dip in labor force participation in May, Black women have the highest rate compared to women of other races across the state, at 56.7 percent. However, as a recession looms ahead, these improvements for California Black women could be wiped away. Strong public investment in the labor market will help improve employment conditions for Black women.

June saw an increase in California Black women’s employment-to-population ratio while the EPOP of women of other races fell. Economists attribute the overall upward trend in Black women’s EPOP to strong public investments in the economy, especially after Black women were one of the demographic groups hardest hit by the pandemic.

Despite improvements in Black women’s EPOP and LFPR, California Black women still have a high unemployment rate compared to other racial groups. The Black women’s unemployment rate in the state did fall by over one percentage point between May and June, which is a positive sign that Black women are able to re-enter the labor market after significant layoffs in May. Prior to the sudden increase in unemployment in May, Black women experienced record-low unemployment rates due to an incredibly strong labor market that created the greatest opportunities for career changes and skills-matching for vulnerable communities. A return to low unemployment is possible if the federal government prioritizes a strong and diverse economy by maintaining or even lowering interest rates.

California Black Women continue to make strides in the employment market even though they are still far behind their white counterparts when it comes to the wage gap and wealth gap. Based on Census data from 2022, the national wage gap for Black women compared to non-Hispanic white men is 67 cents for full-time, year-round workers and 64 cents for all workers (including part-time). In California, Black Women working full-time year-round make .55 cents for every dollar made by white males, which is one of the lowest in the nation (equal to the wage gap in Mississippi) according to the Black Women and the Wage Gap report by the Partnership of Women and Families. The same report highlights that California falls short of the national rate of .63 cents, which also means that the Golden State’s day to obtain pay equity for Black Women is further in the year than currently recognized.

There is still a lot that needs to be done to address the equity gap that Black Women in California face, which has a significant bearing on their economic floor. California Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute is focused on addressing this issue through its work under the CA Black Women’s Think Tank.


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