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Analysis produced to date suggests that workers who are from a BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) background have been one of the groups most negatively impacted economically by the coronavirus outbreak. This paper focuses on standard official sources, some of which which do not reflect the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. For more timely data on the labour market, see the Library briefing Coronavirus: Impact on the labour market

The UK unemployment rate was 5.0% in July-September 2020. The rate was 4.5% for people from a White ethnic background compared to 8.5% for people from minority ethnic backgrounds, although there was substantial variation between different ethnic minority groups.

The number of people from a BAME background who are unemployed has increased from the same period last year, with the unemployment rate rising from 7.0% to 8.5%. The unemployment rate for people from White ethnic backgrounds also rose, from 4.0% to 5.0%. Unemployment rates for people from both White and minority ethnic backgrounds are below the rates seen prior to the economic downturn in 2008.

In July-September 2020, unemployment levels for people from a BAME background increased by 49,000, and by 281,000 for people from a White background from the same period in 2019.

In the 12 months to June 2020, the unemployment rate was highest for people from a Pakistani (9%), Black, Bangladeshi or Other (8%) ethnic background. The unemployment rate was lowest for people from a White, Chinese (3%), or Indian (4%) ethnic background.


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