Unemployment insurance is a crucial government program that provides a measure of security to all workers and stability to people when they lose their jobs. But, many workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance because of who they are or how they have been working. And, there is a clear racial bias in who does and does not get unemployment benefits.
The Unemployment Bridge Program (UBP) would be a step in the direction of including people who have been explicitly or implicitly left out of unemployment insurance. While UBP would close a gap for all workers, Immigration Research Institute (IRI) estimates that 73 percent of the New Yorkers who would benefit are non-white and 27 percent are white.
In New York, 14 percent of the overall population is Black. Looking at the categories of workers that would be covered by UBP, 11 percent of immigrants who are undocumented are Black, as are 8 percent of self-employed and freelance workers, 20 percent of domestic workers or people working in small-scale construction or landscaping, and more than half —52 percent—of people re-entering the labor force after a period of incarceration.
UBP Helps Compensate for the Racial Bias of Unemployment Insurance
|Immigrants lacking work authorization||11%||56%||20%||3%||10%||90%|
|Self-employed and freelance workers||8%||2%||15%||2%||73%||27%|
|Construction workers in small jobs, landscapers, domestic workers||20%||33%||10%||1%||36%||64%|
|Re-entering the labor force after incarceration or detention||52%||23%||1%||2%||23%||77%|
People who identify as Hispanic or Latinx make up 19 percent of the total state population, 56 percent of immigrants without work authorization, 2 percent of people who are self-employed or freelancers, 33 percent of domestic workers or those in small-scale construction or landscaping, and 23 percent of people re-entering the labor force after incarceration.
And, Asian and Pacific Islanders make up 8 percent of the total state population, 20 percent of immigrants without work authorization, 15 percent of people who are self-employed or freelancers, 10 percent of domestic workers or those in small-scale construction or landscaping, and 23 percent of people re-entering the labor force after incarceration.
In all, IRI estimates that 750,000 workers in New York with the security of knowing they would be covered if they lost work, and 30,000 would get program payments at any given time.
For more detail, see: www.immresearch.org. Population shares are based on the 2019 American Community Survey 5-year data.