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Unemployment Rates Worse For Black College Grads Than White Counterparts

On Christmas Eve the New York Times ran an alarming story about the high rates of unemployment for black college graduates compared to their white counterparts. Even more shocking — black college grads are struggling WORSE than white drop outs!

Among recent graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

While there has always been a gap between black and white college grads, this 7.5 percentage point difference was far greater than before the recession burned through the economy. In 2007, for example, there was only a 1.4 percentage point difference, with 4.6 percent of recent black graduates out of work compared with 3.2 percent of similarly educated whites.

In fact, the unemployment rate in 2013 was lower among whites who never finished high school (9.7 percent) than it was for blacks with some college education (10.5 percent).

Black graduates are suffering from a version of last hired, first fired, William A Darity Jr., an economist at Duke University said. The effects of discrimination are blunted when the work force is expanding, but in harder times minorities are much more vulnerable, he said.

A new report from the Century Foundation found that regardless of education, age or job, blacks continue to be almost twice as likely as whites to be unemployed.

Scary stuff right? One of the comments that Schmitt made in the article that also struck a chord with us was that the U.S. hasn’t experienced this kind of pattern since the early 1980’s recession… It says a lot that black grads are suffering like this even as the unemployment rates are improving. Do you think this is another sign that racism is only getting worse?

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