Wage gaps between employed black Americans and employed white Americans are larger than they were in 1979, according to data gathered by Valerie Wilson and Janelle Jones of the Economic Policy Institute, reports the Atlantic.
Wilson and Jones’ data reflects that in 2015 — just as in 1979 — poor black Americans worked more hours than poor white Americans. It also reflects that the labor hours put in by black women who work low-wage jobs has increased by 30 percent, a higher margin than the labor hours of any other demographic in the study.
Furthermore, black Americans achieving levels of education beyond high school, such as a bachelor’s degree, has not majorly diminished the wage gap between employed black Americans and employed white Americans. On the contrary, black American males with a college degree entered the workforce in 2014 with about an 18 percent disadvantage in comparison to white American college graduates — 8 percent more than the disadvantage black American males with a college degree already had in the 1980s.
“Wage gaps are growing primarily because of discrimination (or racial differences in skills or worker characteristics that are unobserved or unmeasured in the data) and growing earnings inequality in general,” writes Wilson and Jones.
“Thus closing and eliminating the gaps will require intentional and direct action.”
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