LISTEN: What can history tell us about which Alaskans face the greatest barriers to employment?

A line graph shows historical jobless rates by race in Alaska
(Alaska Department of Labor)

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy, and caused widespread unemployment. 

While all racial and ethnic groups have been impacted by this trend, nationally, Black and Asian Americans are facing a much greater increase in the unemployment rate, compared to white Americans. The same is true for the Hispanic and Latino populations. 

This kind of data isn’t yet available for Alaska specifically, and it won’t be for several years. Still, Alaska Department of Labor economist Neal Fried says there is a lot we can learn from looking at history.

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