How has Covid-19 impacted Black workers in California over the past year?

Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by BVN

Alex Reed, Digital Coordinator for Mapping Black California, discusses with KVCR’s Megan Jamerson, the visualizing the impact of COVID-19 on the Black Community, a Black Voice News initiative. Visit for more updates.

Much has changed for Black Californians since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.  

Census Bureau estimates report Blacks, who are 5.8 percent of the state’s population and represent 12.1 percent  of its total workforce, comprise19.4 percent of California’s essential workers. While  COVID-19 has negatively impacted a great number of employees as reflected in the statewide average unemployment rate of nine percent, the unemployment rate among Blacks is 11.4 percent.

The Black Workers Statistics Dashboard provides an expanded perspective of the Black workforce in California. It highlights and combines several key indicators in a single resource to serve as a quick and insightful reference for those seeking to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s  Black workers.

Map: Populations Comparisons

This map provides two views related to where Blacks live and work in the state. Click on the icon next to the spyglass in the upper righthand corner to view a map legend. Click on tabs beneath the map to switch between views.

Population/Unemployment View

This map view compares areas of highest unemployment by county, highlighting where Black people   live and work. Interestingly, the densest Black population areas DO NOT overlap with the highest unemployment areas, except for Fresno County where there is an overlap.

Map: Population/Migration

This Map compares areas in the state with the highest influx migration rates relative to where Black people live. The densest Black population areas DO overlap with the highest influx migration areas. This map will soon be expanded to include a job density layer expected to reflect a similar overlap.

Pie Chart: Representation by Occupation

This Pie Chart reflects the top five industries for Black workers as a percent of the industries’ total workforce.  Blacks are represented in these occupations as follows: Service (21.7%), Professional (21.4%), Management (13.4%), Administrative (12.5%) and Transportation (11.5%).

Bar Chart: Unemployment Rate by Occupation

This bar chart reflects two views related to unemployment. Use arrows at bottom of the chart to toggle between the views: 

        The unemployment rate by occupation view identifies the five industries with the highest unemployment rates as Service (13%), Transportation (11.1%), Agriculture (10.3%), Construction (10.1%) and Production (9%). (Note: Two blue collar industries where Blacks are fairly represented–service and transportation–also reflect high rates of unemployment.) 

        The average unemployment rate of Blacks stands in notable contrast when compared to the combined unemployment rate for all races during the period January to December 2020.  

Bar Chart: Pay Characteristics

This bar chart provides two views related to pay. Use arrows at bottom of the chart to toggle between the views: 

        The Weekly Pay by Occupation view compares the weekly rate of pay for Black workers compared to all workers in five categories including: professional, maintenance, sales, transportation, and service.  

·         The Average Weekly Pay Over Time view compares the average weekly pay over time for Black workers compared to the average weekly pay over time for all workers.

Bar Chart: Representation by Characteristic

This graph contrasts Black workers to all workers comparing important employment characteristics including uninsured workers, union workers, full time workers, teleworkers, etc.  

Black Voice News COVID-19 Series dashboards are created by Alex Reed, Mapping Black California project and research associate.