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LM Otero / AP

Black and Hispanic income has stayed comparatively low since the federal government began breaking out the figures by race five decades ago, per the U.S. Census, and a current reason is that the jobs they're in do not typically require high digital skills, says Amy Liu, a vice president at the Brookings Institution.

As of 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, Hispanic Americans' median income was $45,148, and blacks earned $36,898. Whites were earning $62,950, and Asians $77,166. Per Census Bureau statistics on education, 23% of black Americans had college degrees in 2016, 16.4% of Hispanic Americans, and 37% of white Americans.

Why it matters: More and more U.S. jobs are going to require increasingly refined digital skills — already since the early 2000s, the proportion of jobs needing only minimal digital skills has dropped to 30% from more than half. That's probably going to put black and Hispanic Americans at a further disadvantage in the job market as time goes on.

How to deal with it: It's important to remember that "these market forces can result in inclusion rather than dislocation and inequality" if local governments and mayors step in and tailor workforce development programs to the needs of the people who are out-of-work in their cities, Liu says. For example...

  • If you're out of work in Boston, you're most likely to be less educated and of prime age, according to a Brookings study released in June, called "Meet the out-of-work," a snapshot into how work has changed since the early 2000s.
  • Boston's not alone — that's the most likely description of a jobless person in most of the 130 largest U.S. cities and counties (it's the same in Manhattan, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee just to name a few).

But the solutions that work for these cities might be less apt for the jobless in:

  • San Francisco, where they are most likely to be highly educated, engaged, and younger
  • or in Seattle, where they are probably educated, older, and with a high income.

Bottom line: The responsibility is with local officials to tailor get-back-to-work programs to local realities, and not national models.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.

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