JPMorgan Chase Hired 2,100 People With Criminal Records In 2018 (And Will Hire More)

The U.S. loses up to $87 billion annually in GDP by excluding people with criminal backgrounds from the workforce, said the bank

Phot: Depositphotos.com/lewistse

Topline: JPMorgan Chase announced an expansion of its efforts to hire people with criminal backgrounds Monday, continuing the trend of big companies “banning the box” and giving people second chances.

  • JPMorgan Chase hired 2,100 people with criminal records in 2018, which equals about 10% of their total hires last year.
  • The bank knows those people have records, because they conduct background checks on applicants after a job offer has been made.
  • Applicants with criminal records are being considered for entry-level jobs like account servicing and transaction processing, according to the bank’s press release.
  • The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is 27%, while the nationwide unemployment rate is 3.5%, according to the bank.
  • But the tight labor market could be more beneficial to people with criminal records⁠—a July survey from staffing firm Adecco showed that 35% of respondents would consider those applicants, and 21% of respondents are no longer drug-testing them.
  • Koch IndustriesStarbucks, McDonald’s, Target and Home Depot are among other corporations that have increased hiring efforts of the formerly incarcerated since at least 2013.

Surprising fact: The U.S. loses up to $87 billion annually in GDP by excluding people with criminal backgrounds from the workforce, said the bank.

Key background: “Banning the box” refers to removing questions about criminal backgrounds from job applications, a movement that’s been growing over the past two decades. According to the Pew Research Center, as of April black and Hispanic people make up 56% of the jailed population, leading experts to believe the groups are unfairly discriminated against in hiring. But “ban the box” legislation began to pass in the early 2000s, with laws on the books in 35 states and over 150 cities and counties as of July, according to the National Employment Law Project. And the 2018 First Step Act means thousands of people could be eligible for early release from prison, on top of the 700,000 already released annually⁠—signaling a shifting political attitude towards these workers, according to FastCompany.

Lisette Voytko, Forbes Staff

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