Politics

Male African-American unemployment is over 50 percent among dropouts

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

More than half of male African-American high school dropouts are unemployed, according to a new online analysis of unemployment data by Remapping Debate, a left-of-center news site in New York.

“This is an emergency, this is a catastrophe [but Washington is] not rating it as a catastrophe,” said the site’s editor, Craig Gurian, told The Daily Caller.

The rate is “unbelievable, it is unbelievable,” said a Republican Senate staff member.

The online data shows the unemployment rates for 270 subgroups of Americans.

White men with a university degree have the lowest level of unemployment, at only 2.9 percent, when averaged over the last year, according to the analysis.

The group with the highest average unemployment rate are young male African-American high school dropouts, at 51.6 percent.

The unemployment rate for all male and female African-American dropouts is 30 percent, said the report.

But African-Americans who graduated from high-school did little better. Their 12-month unemployment rate is 26 percent.

Those rates do not include people who have given up looking for work or part-time workers who want full-time jobs, said Gurian.

In contrast, the national employment rate for younger college grads of all types is 7.1 percent.

The database was released as progressive activists and corporations push for passage of a new immigration bill that would allow companies to bring in more unskilled and professional foreign workers, provide work permits to 11 million illegal immigrants that are already in the country, and also allow those immigrants to win visas for members of their extended family.

The top leaders of most African-American advocacy groups, including the NAACP and the Urban League, have lined up with other progressive leaders — led by President Barack Obama — to support the proposed immigration reforms.

According to multiple economic analyses offered by advocates and opponents of large-scale immigration, the inflow of foreign workers hits low-skilled Americans hardest.

In contrast, wealthier Americans gain from cheap labor as reduce the price of labor-intensive personal services, such as gardening and daycare, and by increasing the value of company stocks.

The RemappingDebate chart illustrates the sharp divide between the employment of low-skilled people and those who graduate from college, including those who graduate with no technical skills.

The unemployment rate for all college grads is 3.9 percent.

White college graduates’ rate is a little lower, at 3.7. The unemployment rate for Hispanic college grads is 5.3 percent, and the unemployment rate for African-American college grades is 6.2 percent.

In contrast, the unemployment rate is 18.9 percent for young people who only graduate from high-school and did not attend any college. It is 27.4 percent for people who did quit high-school without a diploma.

The college-high school gap in employment and wages widened during the 1990s and 2000s as companies hired people to build and install waves of new, productivity-boosting technology, such as computers, robots and automated services.

But since the decade-long property bubble bust in late 2007, that gap has narrowed, according to a new study by Paul Beaudry, an economist at the University of British Columbia. The paper, titled The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks, was published at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The gap has narrowed because the economy has stalled, and because increased productivity since 2000 means that relatively fewer high-skilled people are needed by companies, said Beaudry’s paper.

These days, young and older college grads are being forced to take unskilled jobs, which were previously held by unskilled Americans.

The new database doesn’t show what kind of jobs are held by college grads, said Gurian. “That college grad could be in fact be employed at The Gap [retail store] and it would still show up as somebody who is employed,” he told The Daily Caller.

The marketplace trend was showcased by a March 27 article in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted an African-American woman from Chicago, Tamela Augusta. The 42-year old woman, who spent two years in college, lost her secretarial job and now finds herself competing against college grads for a new job.

“In the past, [employers] were pretty much looking for people that had a high school diploma,” she said.

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