Why is Black Unemployment So Much Higher Than White?

When the latest unemployment numbers came out, I noted that despite the overall unemployment numbers “remained flat…unemployment for women and African-Americans rose.”

Women’s rose to 7.8 percent, which is about the national average.

Unemployment in the black community rose to an unbelievable 14 percent.

That’s almost double the national average.

I was curious why, so I looked around to see if there was a solid reason why black unemployment was in double digits and rising.  I found people blaming cuts in public sector jobs as a leading reason. According to a Harvard study, black folks are 30% more likely to work in the public sector and because over 600,000 public sector jobs have been eliminated, it’s hit the black community extra hard.

Again I found myself asking “why?”  Why are members of the black community 30% more likely to work in the public sector?

MSNBC went as far as to say it was because black people didn’t have the ties to corporate America like us white folks.

No, seriously:

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Pardom me if I dismiss that nonsense wholesale and look for a serious reason based in empirical data and reasoning.

Let’s start with when most people enter the job market. The unemployment rate for black teens is 40.5 percent.

You read that right.

For a comparison, the unemployment rate for white teens is 21.6 percent.

Why the huge difference?

Milton Friedman knows:

Walter Williams explains more about why the minimum wage laws impact black youth more than white youth:

Teenagers tend to be low-skilled. They lack the experience, knowledge and maturity of adults. That means they will be the primary victims of a minimum wage law. But why are black teens more heavily impacted than white teens? Black teens are far more likely to come from broken homes and attend some of the worst schools in the nation. Therefore, a law that discriminates against the employment of low-skilled workers will have a greater impact on black workers.

Higher broken home. Again, ask “why?”

Why are 70 percent of births in the black community to single mothers?


In 1960, only 28 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were never married. Today, it’s 56 percent. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 19 percent, in 1960, 22 percent, and today, it’s 70 percent. Some argue that the state of the black family is the result of the legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty. That has to be nonsense. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families, comprised of two parents and children. In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related black households had two parents. In fact, according to Herbert Gutman in “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925,” “Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents.” Therefore, if one argues that what we see today is a result of a legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty, what’s the explanation for stronger black families at a time much closer to slavery — a time of much greater discrimination and of much greater poverty? I think that a good part of the answer is there were no welfare and Great Society programs.

And why, as Williams suggested, are black teens far more likely to attend some of the worst schools in the nation?

Teacher’s unions.

The schools in the Washington, DC area spend $25,000 per student. For some perspective, the tuition for Sidwell Friends, where the President sends his children, is $32,000.

DC should have some amazing schools. They don’t. They are nightmares.


Decades of entrenched bureaucracy.

One way out is to send children to private and charter schools. It’s impossible for a poor black single mother to afford to send her children to private school without a voucher for the money that would be spent on them in the public school, so a voucher system was created, implemented and became a huge success.

Enter, Sen. Dick Durbin:

In 2009, Senator Dick Durbin included a provision in an omnibus spending bill prohibiting any new children from receiving scholarships unless the program was fully reauthorized by Congress and authorized by the D.C. City Council. The make-up of Congress in 2009 was such that a reauthorization of the voucher program was highly unlikely, meaning Durbin’s provision effectively doomed the program, since no new children were allowed to receive scholarships.

President Obama helped him shut the program down.


Maybe this::

NEA opposes any expansion or reauthorization of the DC voucher program.

Pretty cut and dry.

The National Education Association, or NEA, “the nation’s oldest—and largest—teachers union,” has donated over $14,000 to Sen. Durbin, and nearly $50,000 to the president.

While the parents of black children attending private schools were pleased to see their children getting a decent education, the Democrats were doing everything they could to send them back to the failed government school system they escaped because powerful teacher’s unions cut bigger checks.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner made sure the program remained active.

Sadly, black children across the country don’t have a voucher program like some of the DC children do, and it’s for the same reasons DC almost lost theirs.

Knowing this, it’s not a stretch to see the failed government school system many black children are trapped in as a contributor to high unemployment in the black community, especially when you consider this data from the Brookings Institute (pdf):

As of May 2012, the unemployment rate of workers with a high school diploma or less education is 9.9 percent, whereas the unemployment rate of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 3.9 percent. More educated adults are also much more likely to be in the labor force. The labor force participation rate for those with a high school diploma or less is just 55 percent, compared to 77 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree.

One explanation as to why less educated workers struggle to find work is that there just are not enough job openings available for them.

Fact: only 18 percent of black Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Again, why?

Poor schools, which Democrats fight to keep blacks in, and all the hardships associated with the lack of a nuclear family, which Democrat policies destroyed.

So getting back to the original question of why is black unemployment almost double the national average.

Democratic policies have had a compounding impact on the life of the black American, from birth until death. A majority are born to a family without a father because Democratic social engineering made it easy for them to walk away. And Democratic loyalties for children into prisons thinly disguised as schools because the unions want it that way.

Finally, with no stable family and no decent education, they don’t seek a secondary education in a job market that almost requires one, limiting their options to lower wage or public sector jobs.

The better question is, with decades of “help” from the Democrat Party, how could unemployment in the black community not be this bad?