AAPI Workforce Picture Revealed

Filed in Jobs, Secretary Solis by on July 28, 2011 13 Comments

Since the start of this administration, we’ve made big strides in getting our economy back on track. We’ve gone from losing more than 750,000 jobs a month when President Obama was inaugurated to creating 2.2 million in the last 16 months. We still face challenges ahead. As we continue to make gains, it’s important to remember that all Americans must be included in the nation’s success. 

Over the last several months, the Department of Labor has released a series of reports looking at the workforce picture for different populations. This month, we released the latest in this series, entitled The Asian-American Labor Force in the Recovery

When I served in Congress, one in five of my constituents was an Asian American or Pacific Islander. I know that while many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are thriving and living the American Dream, other Asian communities are still struggling to share in that success. 

As the report highlights, Asian Americans are a diverse and growing share of the U.S. labor force. As a group, the Asian American community has often experienced better labor market outcomes than other races and ethnicities. Asians in the labor force are substantially more likely to have college degrees than whites, blacks or Hispanics. They had lower unemployment rates and higher median weekly earnings in 2010 ($855) than workers of other races and ethnicities. 

Unemployment rates by Asian Ethnicities, 2010 Annual Averages. Source: Special tabulation from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Bureau of Labor Statistics

However, beneath these numbers is a wide range of outcomes experienced by different segments of the Asian community. Employment numbers broken down by gender, age and country of origin illustrate significant disparities within the AAPI community.

For example, in 2010, the average unemployment rate for Asian Americans was 7.5 percent, lower than all other major races or ethnic groups.  But a closer look at the numbers shows, for instance, that while Japanese workers had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, this was about half of the 8.5 percent unemployment rate experienced by Filipino workers.

Similarly, while 65 percent of Asian Indians were employed in 2010, only 55 percent of Koreans had jobs. There are even larger disparities in educational attainment. About three quarters of employed Asian Indians have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only 30 percent of employed Vietnamese workers. Also, the report finds that when Asian Americans do lose their jobs, they stay unemployed for longer periods than whites or Latinos.

The challenge we face is to ensure that the economic recovery reaches all communities. The report details a number of initiatives the Department of Labor is pursuing to ensure that AAPI workers are protected on the job and benefit from workforce development programs. We need to nurture the contributions of our AAPI workers, so we can win the global race to create new industries and new high-skilled jobs. If we are going to out-build, out-educate and out-innovate our global competitors, we cannot spare anyone’s talent. In this high-stakes competition to secure our economic future, America doesn’t have a person to lose.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Gregg Stoerrle says:

    Dear secretary of labor Solis
    I read your remarks on this last week.In your speeches you bring up your father who was a union shop steward and how he stood up for workers rights.My father also was a union shop steward in the steel workers union. Im in a union operating engineers (local 542)When my father heard how my employer pulled me into the confrence room and they handed me a three day suspenion witout union representation even after i asked for representation.He almot fell out of his chair.Would your father have allowed this Ms Solis? By the way this is what the two company managers said to me(Because your the one who called OSHA were giving you a three day suspenion).Retaliation anyone??
    Gregg Stoerrle

  2. Gregg Stoerrle says:

    Why are my comments always left awaiting moderation? I am an american,military dad,registered voter,tax payer.Is this not a government site?
    Will someone there inform me of my rights on this subject?

  3. mashilo says:

    Encouraging to see that jobs are being created. this can be speed up by encouraging entrepreneurship as it is one of the tools to create employment at a fast rate.

  4. eyelastin says:

    (Work in Progress) is very informative blog and nice information sir ,i am searching this information from two days so thanks

  5. Maxolash says:

    nice to see that the jobs are being created for unemployed. Our president is doing well in this regard. Hope our youth will grab the oppertunity…

  6. Very encouraging to know that employment is recovering slowly, is a key factor for families to restore hope

  7. I hope that the job recovery reaches all parts of the country, not just the rich communities. We really need to turn this country back around.

  8. In this high-stakes competition to secure our economic future, America doesn’t have a person to lose.

  9. All we do is set around and talk about it. GO OUT and make a Difference. If you have extra money, help someone find a job. Create a job. DO SOMETHING!

  10. Christoph says:

    I like what you said about creating a job for someone.

  11. That happened back in the World War II. Its just another tax. And yes Voice of Reason it is an entitlement program. Just because you paid doesn’t mean I have too. Especially when I have to pay for all your other mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have a tax to care of you. And I honestly would not want to change it. But only someone who isn’t thinking right is gonna think that their gonna get back all the money they were taxed (not given, but rightfully taxed) several years later. Besides over 60% of the population is over the age of 40. There is no way in this universe that say approximately 20% of the population is going to pay social security, all taxes, all debts of Generation X, and everything else for most of the population even in a very healthy economy. Just ain’t happening. That’s just common sense.

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