The black unemployment rate is about twice the white unemployment rate regardless of education status, the Economic Policy Institute has found in a recent article.
However, the black unemployment rate has always been twice the rate of whites.
The findings from the article show black college graduates are the only group among black workers whose unemployment rate is similar to the overall rate (about five percent, according to the Board of Labor Statistics). Whites without a high school diploma, on the other hand, were the only group of white workers whose unemployment rate exceeded the national average.
The average unemployment rate for black college graduates over the past year has been 4.1 percent, while the rate for white graduates has been 2.4 percent. The disparity grows among those with no college experience, however. The rate for blacks with only a high school diploma is 9.6 percent — without a diploma, the jobless rate shoots up to 16.6 percent. In comparison to white workers who only have a high school diploma or less, the numbers were at 4.6 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.
“The broader significance of this disparity suggests a race penalty whereby blacks at each level of education have unemployment rates that are the same as or higher than less educated whites,” Valerie Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, wrote. “Persistent disparities in unemployment are constant reminders of how race continues to have an undue influence on life in this country.”
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