How Inflation and Strong Labor Markets Affect Black and Brown Communities


This Wednesday, June 15, at 1 p.m. EST, join Next City Senior Economics Correspondent Oscar Perry Abello for the latest in his Bottom Line Conversations webinar series. In this edition, he will speak with Michelle Holder, the outgoing president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

The economy is on everyone’s mind right now. When will inflation go down? Will strong labor markets continue to raise wages for black workers and narrow the unemployment gap with white workers? How significant – not just symbolic – is it that for the very first time there are multiple black members of the Federal Reserve Board?

Join us for a Bottom Line conversation addressing these questions and more with Afro-Latina economist Michelle Holder, outgoing president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Holder has spent his career studying racial and gender discrimination and inequalities in labor markets. We’ll discuss Holder’s career path, why economics is still a useful lens – but not the only lens – through which to analyze the world. And what the media often gets wrong about economists and economics.

Next City’s “The Bottom Line” series explores scalable solutions to issues related to affordability, inclusive economic growth, and access to capital. The series is made possible thanks to the support of Town.


Oscar Perry Abello is Next City’s senior economics correspondent. He previously served as Next City Editor-in-Chief from 2018-2019 and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Abello has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing , economic development, housing and more for outlets like Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha and Fast Company. Follow him on Twitter: @oscarthinks.



Michelle Holder is the outgoing president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She joined Equitable Growth in September 2021. Holder is also Associate Professor of Economics at John Jay College, City University of New York, where she is currently on academic leave. Her research focuses on the black community and women of color in the American labor market. Named one of 19 black economists to watch by Fortune magazineHolder is the author of two books, Afro-Latinos in the American Economy, published in May 2021, and African-American men and the labor market during the Great Recessionpublished in 2017.

Emblematic of its research axis is its March 2020 report, “The “Double Gap” and the Bottom Line: The African-American Women’s Pay Gap and Corporate Profits.” Holder estimates that this dual gender-race wage gap is costing black working women an estimated $50 billion in unintended lost income — a significant and recurring annual loss for the black community.

More recently, research co-authored by Holder was published in March 2021 in feminist economicsentitled “The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Black Women’s Job Losses in the United StatesThis research, co-authored with Janelle Jones and Thomas Masterson, draws on feminist economics and the economics of stratification to quantify the job losses experienced by black women during the first phase of the pandemic. study finds that the two jobs most frequently lost by black women in the first months of the pandemic were cashier positions in hotels and restaurants, including fast food restaurants, and custodial positions children in the health and human services industry. Research suggests that black women have lost these jobs disproportionately due to their strong attachment to the American workforce, their overrepresentation in the aforementioned industries and the overall overrepresentation of women in low-wage occupations.

Holder also served as Chief Financial Officer at Dēmos from 1999 to 2006, as a founding staff member of the organization. At the nonprofit advocacy organization, she oversaw all aspects of its multimillion-dollar budget after building its finance unit from the ground up.

Holder earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the New School for Social Research, an MPA from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University. Born and raised in New York, Holder has two daughters and brings him lived experience as a second-generation immigrant, first-generation college graduate, and working mother for her research, policy proposals, and workplaces.

This webinar is pay what you want to register. Pay the amount you want or nothing at all. Those who become Contributing Members of at least $5 per month, or who make a one-time donation of at least $20, are eligible to receive “Top 20 Solutions of 2021” – Next City’s Solutions Magazine of the Year. Your contribution to this seminar will be used to find even more great guests, cover accommodation costs, and run seminars like this more frequently. A video of the webinar will be made available to those who register.

This event is presented in partnership with Town.


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