It's time to get down to the          of the matter.

(social justice & employment/wages)

In 2018, the overall unemployment rate for the United States was 3.9 percent.  However, a much clearer picture emerges when you break the numbers down by race. The unemployment rate in 2018 was lower than the national rate for White Americans (3.5 percent), but much higher than the national rate for Black Americans (6.5 percent).  Read more here

The following year, the overall unemployment rate for the United States was 3.7 percent.  But once again, a much clearer picture emerges when you break the numbers down by race.  Once again, the unemployment rate in 2019 was lower than the national rate for White Americans (3.3 percent), but much higher than the national rate for Black Americans (6.1 percent).

To make matters worse, the jobs that Black Americans fill are more likely to be temporary and/or lower paying positions, a fact that makes the pay disparity between the two populations glaring:  In 2019 — the year before the pandemic — the Real Median Household Annual Income of Black households was $45,438 compared to $76,057 for non-Hispanic, White households.  Read the full report here.

Researchers from Princeton University say that:  "During the Great Recession of 2007 to 2010, the unemployment rate among the Black population peaked at 16.8 percent, while the highest rate for the White population was 9.2 percent.  During the economic crisis due to Covid-19, fewer than half of Black adults are able to keep their jobs."

They also reveal that "in recent years, the median unemployment rate in major metropolitan areas was between 3-10 percent.  But in some majority-Black neighborhoods, the median unemployment rate was as high as almost 30 percent."

...and that "over the past two decades, as the rich got richer, the income gap between White and Black Americans also grew steadily.  Big coastal cities have the highest median household income.  But even in the most affluent urban areas, majority-Black neighborhoods tend to have a much lower median household income.  Median household income in majority-White neighborhoods of Minneapolis-St. Paul is more than double than that of majority-Black neighborhoods.  In San Francisco, it’s more than three times as big."  See cool charts here.

The National Women's Law Center, a nonprofit organization, found that, "Black women working full time typically make just 62 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men, and that disparity has not narrowed over the last quarter century.  Indeed, from 1967 to 2018, the wage gap for Black women narrowed by just 19 cents."

"A loss of thirty-eight cents on the dollar adds up over a month, a year, and a lifetime.  If today’s median wage gap does not close, Black women stand to lose $1,962 each month, $23,540 a year, and a staggering $941,600 over the course of a 40- year career.  Assuming a Black woman and her White, non-Hispanic male counterpart both begin work at age 20, the wage gap means a Black woman would have to work until she is 85 years old to be paid what a White, non-Hispanic man has been paid by age 60.  In other words, she would have to work 6.5 years beyond her life expectancy in order to catch up."  Read the entire report here.

It's even worse state by state, city by city.  Using data from the report, the Washington Post found that "In the nation’s capital, a Black woman makes 51 cents for every dollar a White man makes.  The lost cents add up over every paycheck and every year of a woman’s life.  Over the course of a 40-year career, a Black woman in the District is estimated to lose $1.98 million because of the wage gap.  That means a Black woman would need to work until age 98 to make what a White man made by age 60."

Although certain government statistics suggest that the earnings gap between Black and White men has decreased over the past seven decades, those numbers are misleading.  In fact, when you consider the people who don't work at all (instead of counting the wages of only the people who are working), the Black-White wage gap is actually about the same as it was in 1950.  There are two main reasons for this:  1)  Many Black men have dropped out of the labor force and are not actively looking for work.  2)  Many Black men are incarcerated.  In 2018, the imprisonment rate of Black men was 5.8 times that of White males.  Read more here.

An economist and the dean of the Yale School of Management, along with a researcher from Duke University, released the following:  "We study two measures: (i) the level earnings gap — the racial earnings difference at a given quantile; and (ii) the earnings rank gap — the difference between a Black man's percentile in the Black earnings distribution and the position he would hold in the White earnings distribution.  After narrowing from 1940 to the mid-1970s, the median Black–White level earnings gap has since grown as large as it was in 1950.  At the same time, the median Black man's relative position in the earnings distribution has remained essentially constant since 1940, so that the improvement then worsening of median relative earnings have come mainly from the stretching and narrowing of the overall earnings distribution.  Black men at higher percentiles have experienced significant advances in relative earnings since 1940, due mainly to strong positional gains among those with college educations.  Large relative schooling gains by Blacks at the median and below have been more than counteracted by rising return to skill in the labor market, which has increasingly penalized remaining racial differences in schooling at the bottom of the distribution."  Read the entire report here.

Researchers from Harvard Business School, the University of Toronto Mississauga, the University of Toronto, and Stanford University examined "racial minorities’ attempts to avoid discrimination by concealing or downplaying racial cues in job applications, a practice known as "résumé whitening.'"  The results were clear:  "Whitened résumés led to more callbacks than un-Whitened résumés.  For Blacks, the callback gap between un-Whitened résumés and those for which both the name and the experiences were Whitened was 15.5 percentage points (a ratio of roughly 2.5 to 1).  With regard to the effect of partial Whitening, Black applicants who Whitened their experiences but not their first name received more callbacks than those who did not Whiten at all."  

 

The researchers concluded,  "Racial inequality in labor markets persists despite organizational and individual efforts to reduce bias.  We find that decisions about racial concealment and transparency continue to play a crucial role in contemporary labor markets, with powerful and potentially paradoxical consequences for minority job seekers.  While research on employment discrimination has traditionally focused on the demand side of the labor market, our findings highlight how the interplay between supply-side and demand-side processes — the self-presentational choices of both job seekers and employers — shape labor market inequality."  Read the entire report here.

An economist and the dean of the Yale School of Management, along with a researcher from Duke University, released the following: 

 

“We study two measures: (i) the level earnings gap — the racial earnings difference at a given quantile; and (ii) the earnings rank gap — the difference between a Black man’s percentile in the Black earnings distribution and the position he would hold in the White earnings distribution.  After narrowing from 1940 to the mid-1970s, the median Black–White level earnings gap has since grown as large as it was in 1950.  At the same time, the median Black man’s relative position in the earnings distribution has remained essentially constant since 1940, so that the improvement then worsening of median relative earnings have come mainly from the stretching and narrowing of the overall earnings distribution.

Black men at higher percentiles have experienced significant advances in relative earnings since 1940, due mainly to strong positional gains among those with college educations.  Large relative schooling gains by Blacks at the median and below have been more than counteracted by rising return to skill in the labor market, which has increasingly penalized remaining racial differences in schooling at the bottom of the distribution.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute — a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that aims to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions — “Black families have lower shares of households with multiple earners.  In the pre-pandemic economy, Black workers were less likely to have multiple earners in their household.  Half of all Black households had only one earner, while nearly half of all White households had at least two earners.

This racial disparity in the number of household earners is not just a function of how many working-age adults live in the household, or family structure, but is another measurable consequence of the persistent 2-to-1 ratio between the Black and White unemployment rates.  The inequities Black workers experience in the labor market have larger consequences for the economic vulnerability of Black households because it is far more likely that when one household member loses their job, it translates into a complete loss of income for that household. Black households are less likely to have a second earner to fall back on to make ends meet.”

* find sources for this section here.