A report published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) on June 23 reveals that people of color have been the most hurt among youngsters due to the pandemic, when several states had imposed severe lockdowns. The study looked at the impact of the pandemic among youngsters who are Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET).
In the first three months of 2021, 3.8 million 20 to 24-year-olds were not working or at school, which is an increase of 740,000 people from the same period in 2020. The NEET rate among the demographic rose from 14.7 to 18.3 percent during this period. One in four blacks were neither in school nor working compared to one in five hispanics and one in six whites.
The surge in NEET rates in the demographic between 2020 and 2021 is estimated to be driven by large declines in employment. However, a slight uptick in school attendance was seen during the period. The 2021 Q1 employment rate among 20 to 24-year-old NEETs was 5.6 percent lower than that of 2019 Q1. But the school attendance rate rose by almost a percentage.
Among blacks, the NEET rate among youngsters was 25.5 percent in 2005, which was almost twice that of their white peers at 13.5 percent. In the 2010s, this gap narrowed, with the 2019 NEET rate among young blacks hitting 19.6 percent or roughly 1.5 times that of the 12.9 percent white NEET rate.
“During the pandemic in 2020, black young adults experienced the largest increase in NEET rates (7.6 percentage points), compared to 4.4 percent for white young adults. Despite the pre-pandemic progress and the current gradual decline in NEET rates among all groups, there is still a striking difference between the black and white NEET rates,” the report states.
Among hispanics, the NEET rate gap with their white peers dropped 5.8 points between 2005 and 2019. In 2019, this gap narrowed to 3.6 points. But in 2020, the gap suddenly increased. And in the first few months of 2021, the NEET gap is back at 2019 levels.
The CEPR report states that young adults tend to get hit harder during recessions while also facing more long-term consequences. Young adults remain “disproportionately” affected by the pandemic’s economic shock. One reason is that the demographic was employed in sectors that do not allow remote work options or were the hardest hit by the viral outbreak.
In a December 2020 Rasmussen Reports article, Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, points out that ten states had imposed the harshest of lockdowns – California, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, New Mexico, Connecticut, Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon. All these states have Democrat governors.
Moore accuses liberals of pushing for lockdowns which affect the minorities whom they claim to advocate the most for. Minorities are one of their core voting demographics. He cites economists like Milton Freidman and Walter Williams who warned that the first victims of “boneheaded public policies” tend to be the poor and minorities.
A Politico report from December states that communities of color have been “more vulnerable to job and income losses from the ensuing economic crisis, in large part because black and Latino workers are over-represented in the service industries wiped out by shutdowns.”
As to why these politicians support lockdown policies when such decisions hurt the poor, Moore believes that the answer lies in the fact that the left cares a lot more about power than the poor.
“There is an old joke about a boy who kills his parents and then throws himself on the courts’ mercy because he is an orphan. The modern-day version of that story is liberals who have helped burn down the house and then piously complain about rising homelessness,” Moore writes.