New York (CNN Business)The pandemic devastated the once strong US labor market — that much we already knew from various economic data. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics added a bit more detail.
Nearly 10% of US families — 9.8% to be precise — included at least one unemployed family member last year. That was double the number from 2019, when 4.9% of families confronted unemployment. In all, 8.1 million families — which the Labor Department defines as a group of two or more people who live together and are related by birth, marriage or adoption — experienced a job loss last year. But the economic hardship from the pandemic isn’t spread evenly across the population.White families were the least likely to have an unemployed family member, at 9%, while Hispanic families were the most likely at 14.3%.Read MoreThis was a big change from the prior year when Asian families were the least likely to have a jobless member and Black families were the most likely.The pandemic hit industries with a lot of face-to-face interactions, such as hospitality and travel, the hardest due to lockdowns and social distancing protocols. This sector also happens to employ a disproportionate number of Hispanic workers.As of last month’s jobs report, the unemployment rate was highest for Black workers at 9.6%, followed by Hispanics at 7.9%. Both rates were higher than pre-pandemic levels.Mothers hit harder Thursday’s report also underscores the devastating effect the pandemic had on women and families with young children.As many schools shifted to remote learning to keep children safe during the height of the pandemic, many parents — often mothers — were forced to leave the labor force in order to support younger family members’ learning.Overall, the jobless rate for mothers jumped four percentage points to 7.5% last year. The unemployment rate for fathers rose 3.4 points, to 5.6%.The labor force participation rate, which measures workers who are employed or looking for a job, fell for both mothers and fathers, but at 71.2% was far lower for mothers compared with 92.3% for fathers.Factoring in the age of the children in a household, women with older kids were more likely to work full time.