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In public sector positions, black employees and their families have access to a unique source of opportunity and job stability. Despite the fact that government jobs alone will not eradicate systemic racism, public sector jobs do provide black people with a higher sense of economic stability than they may typically find in private sector employment situations. For black employees, having steady employment with predictable salaries and benefits, a stable working environment, and improved protections for workers in the public sector has been a substantial source of financial stability and job security. In addition, a slowdown in the development of government positions, particularly in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, is bad news for African American workers.

State and local governments have made significant reductions in public sector employment as a result of the pandemic’s aftermath. Because of their dedication and hard work in the public sector, black people have witnessed significant economic benefits. These increases in income and wealth are now in jeopardy once more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 211,000 fewer black workers employed in the public sector in September 2020 compared to September 2019. 11

As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the federal government can ensure that state and local governments receive the resources they require, for example, by enacting the American Rescue Plan (which was recently passed). States and local governments must now use these additional funds to restore jobs in an equitable manner; otherwise, they run the risk of jeopardizing the financial security of millions of middle-class black households, making the wealth gap even more difficult to close, and undermining one of the few tools available to significantly reduce racism and racial wealth disparities.

Camari Ellis

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