The Obama years marked one of the slowest U.S. recoveries since World War II, and while President Obama promised “hope and change” to those affected by the Great Recession, one demographic was hit the hardest by this sluggish growth: young, minority women.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) recently found that after the recession, unemployment rates for women nearly doubled from what they were in 2007, with black and Hispanic women and girls ages 16 to 19 experiencing the highest rate increases between 2009 and 2010.
Even in 2016, the unemployment rate for all women was higher than the pre-recession rate, and across all age groups, black women had higher unemployment rates than white women’s unemployment rates at their peak in 2010.
Prior to the recession, the unemployment rate for all women was at 4.5 percent, with black women and girls ages 16 to 19 suffering from joblessness at more than twice the rate of white women and girls. Unemployment increased significantly for all women during the Great Recession. Hispanic and black women ages 25 to 39 in particular faced higher unemployment increases than white and Asian women in the same age group.
According to the Pew Research Center, from the end of the recession in June 2009 through May 2011, unemployment among men dropped by 1.1 percentage points, while unemployment among women actually increased by 0.2 percent. In the last five decades, women have gained jobs at a faster rate than men in the two years following a recession, but as Pew Research Center notes, “The recovery from the Great Recession is the first since 1970 in which women have lost jobs even as men have gained them.”
Economist Stephen Moore blames this on several factors, including Obama’s “punitive tax rates, $7 trillion in new debt, minimum-wage hikes, regulatory overreach and Obamacare.”
Is it any wonder why Hillary Clinton, who hinted at more of the same, had a weaker turnout among young and minority voters in 2016 than Obama did four years before?
The IWPR study rightly points out the long-term economic consequences for these women. Constant unemployment ultimately impacts future financial stability by limiting one’s ability to develop skills, gain work experience, and build professional networks. It also lessens their lifetime earnings, social security income, and their ability to save for retirement. Statistically speaking, young minority women have suffered the most under the Obama administration, and are hoping for some relief and economic growth under President Trump.