A recent study from LinkedIn has highlighted the ability of HBCU graduates to avoid poor hiring trends during the pandemic. Previously, the professional networking platform found that the hiring rate for HBCU graduates increased by 5.9% annually from 2016 until 2019. Unfortunately, this trend was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of poor hiring trends during the pandemic, HBCU graduates have found a way to survive better than most other groups. Across the United States, the hiring rate has declined by more than 16%. For HBCU graduates, the hiring rate has only decreased by 11.9%.
Unfortunately, this trend does not carry on to the entire Black community. Nationally, the unemployment rate sat at 6.3% in January. However, it rose to 9.2% for Black residents. The pandemic may have further exasperated economic gaps within American society. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics from April until August of 2020 found that the gap between the Black unemployment rate white unemployment rate nearly tripled. This is only worsened by the fact that only 13% of unemployed Black workers received unemployment benefits at the outset of the pandemic.
"This COVID-19 recession/recovery is akin to a schoolyard game of kickball. As the economy tries to rebound, companies are adding workers to their team, yet a group is being picked last—Black workers," economist Jhacova Williams stated.
Fortunately, it appears that the economy should begin to steadily improve this spring. Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available by April, which should allow for businesses to fully reopen soon thereafter.
"I would imagine by the time we get to April, that would be what I call open season. Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category can start to get vaccinated," he said while being interviewed on NBC's Today.
"Hopefully, as we get into the middle and end of the summer, we can have accomplished the goal of what we're talking about — namely, the overwhelming majority of people in this country having gotten vaccinated."
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