African-American Teen Unemployment Increases to Almost 7 Times National Rate, Report Says
While 193,000 new jobs were created in January and overall unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent, the Black teen unemployment rate remains alarmingly high at 31.4 percent, according to a new report by the Employment Policies Institute.
While overall teenage unemployment saw a slight decrease from 13.4 percent to 13.3 percent, Black teen unemployment increased to seven times the national rate. This bleak employment outlook threatens to become much worse as states across the nation consider mandated minimum wage hikes.
Decades of economic research conclude that mandated wage hikes eliminate entry-level jobs, putting particular pressure on minorities and the underskilled. A Cornell University study found that young Black adults typically bear almost four times the employment loss of their non-Black counterparts after a minimum wage increase. Specifically, they found that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would result in an 8.5 percent decrease in employment for Black young adults and teenagers.
“These populations are already suffering from high unemployment and will only experience further barriers to employment if the minimum wage is increased,” says Michael Flynn, legislative director for the Employment Policies Institute. “This troubling economic reality should be taken into strong consideration by anyone considering a minimum wage hike — whether it is in the legislature or at the ballot box.”
To view the report online, go to <www.epionline.org/gj_report_detail.cfm?date=0601>.
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