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The Office for National Statistics have suspended the publication of unemployment levels by ethnic group from the beginning of 2020 onwards. They are currently carrying out a reweighting exercise of this data, which is expected to be completed in July. Further information is available in the ONS article Labour Force Survey weighting methodology.

This Library briefing paper will not be updated until these statistics are republished. Please note that the currently published version of this briefing paper does contain the unemployment levels data that has subsequently been suspended. This information should be used with caution as it may change when the data is republished.

The ONS continue to publish employment rates by ethnic group sand this is available in the ONS Labour market status by ethnic group dataset.

Analysis produced to date suggests that workers who are from a minority ethnic background have been one of the groups most negatively impacted economically by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The unemployment rate for people from a minority ethnic background was 8.9% in January-March 2021, up from 6.3% in the same period the year before. The unemployment rate for people from White ethnic backgrounds also rose, from 3.9% to 4.7%. Unemployment rates for people from both White and minority ethnic backgrounds are below the rates seen prior to the economic downturn in 2008.

In the 12 months to September 2020, the unemployment rate was highest for people from a Pakistani (9%), or Black (9%) ethnic background. The unemployment rate was lowest for people from a White, Indian (4%), or Chinese (5%) ethnic background.

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