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Bottom Line Conversations: How Inflation and Strong Labor Markets Affect Black & Brown Communities

Join Senior Economics Correspondent Oscar Perry Abello for the latest in his Bottom Line Conversations webinar series that goes beyond the issues of equitable economic development to talk to the people who do the work. 

June 15, 2022

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

The economy is on everyone's minds right now. When will inflation subside? Will strong labor markets continue to boost wages for Black workers and reduce the unemployment gap with white workers? How significant is it — not just symbolic — that for the first time ever there are multiple Black members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors?

Join us for a Bottom Line conversation touching on these questions and more with Afro Latina Economist Michelle Holder, outgoing president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Holder has spent her career studying racial and gender discrimination and inequality in labor markets. We’ll chat about 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 series “The Bottom Line” explores scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. The series is made possible with support from Citi.



Oscar Perry Abello is Next City's senior economics correspondent. He previously served as Next City’s editor 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 media outlets such as 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 also is an 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 U.S. labor market. Named one of 19 Black economists to watch by Fortune magazine, Holder has authored two books, Afro-Latinos in the U.S. Economy, published in May 2021, and African American Men and the Labor Market during the Great Recession, published in 2017.

Emblematic of her research focus is her March 2020 report, “The ‘Double Gap’ and the Bottom Line: African American Women’s Wage Gap and Corporate Profits.” Holder estimates this double gender-and-race wage gap costs Black women workers approximately $50 billion in involuntarily forfeited earnings — a large and recurring annual loss to the Black community.

Most recently, research co-authored by Holder was published in March 2021 in Feminist Economics, titled “The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Job Losses Among Black Women in the U.S.” This research, co-authored with Janelle Jones and Thomas Masterson, draws upon feminist economics and stratification economics theories to quantify the job losses Black women experienced during the early phase of the pandemic. The study finds that the two jobs most frequently lost by Black women in the early months of the pandemic were cashier positions in the hotel and restaurant industry, including fast-food restaurants, and child care worker positions in the healthcare and social services industry. The research suggests Black women disproportionately lost these jobs because of their strong attachment to the U.S. workforce, their overrepresentation in the aforementioned industries, and women’s overall overrepresentation in low-wage occupations.

Holder also served as finance director at Dēmos from 1999 to 2006, as part of the founding staff at the organization. At the nonprofit advocacy organization, she oversaw all aspects of its multimillion-dollar budget after developing its finance unit from the ground up.

Holder earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from the New School for Social Research, an M.P.A. from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in economics from Fordham University. Born and raised in New York City, Holder has two daughters and brings her lived experience as a second-generation immigrant, first-generation college graduate, and working mother to her research, her policy proposals, and her workplaces.

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This event is presented in partnership with Citi.

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