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1/3 of Black High School Grads Can’t Find Job

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In this recession, a high school diploma or even a college degree is no guarantee that you will have a job or a decent income. But for African Americans, the situation is worse than for any other group.

In fact, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows almost one-third of young African American high school  graduates is unemployed.

African Americans face a “considerable disadvantage” in finding jobs compared with their white, Hispanic, and Asian counterparts, the report says.

In the first half of 2010, the jobless rate for African American high school graduates between the ages of 16 and 24 was 31.3 percent, practically 10 percentage points higher than for whites in the same category (21.4 percent). The unemployment rate among Latino high school graduates was 23.8 percent and 21.6 percent for Asian Americans.

While the employment picture is much better for young workers who graduated from college, the reality, says the report’s author, Algernon Austin is “even recent college graduates have seen a significant decline in their likelihood of finding work since 2007.”

The unemployment rate for young black college graduates was 15.4 percent the first half of this year, up from 8.4 percent in the first half of 2007.The jobless rate for young white college graduates is 7.9 percent, less than the national average unemployment rate of 9.6 percent. According to the report:

The Great Recession has pushed up the white recent college graduate unemployment rate, but it is still lower than the black rate before the recession began.

Asian American college graduates had the second-highest jobless rate in the first half of 2007, and saw the largest increase in their unemployment rate in three years, rising from 6.8 percent to 16.2 percent.

The Latino unemployment rate for college graduates was close to that for whites, but grew more rapidly during the economic downturn, rising from 4.1 percent in the first half of 2007 to 11.8 percent in the first half of 2010.

The unemployment situation for young African American college grads is exacerbated by the huge college debt load they carry. The report shows African American college graduates “were the worst off in terms of education loan debt.”

Read the full report, “In Graduate Employment Gap: Students of Color Losing Ground,” here.


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