One In Five Black And Hispanic Workers Are Underemployed

CREDIT: FrontPage Mag

black unemployment

CREDIT: FrontPage Mag

About one in five black and Hispanic workers, or 18.9 percent of Hispanic workers and 22.4 percent of black workers, are underemployed, meaning that they are either jobless and actively looking for work, want to work but have given up looking, or are working part-time but want to be full-time, according to an analysis of the Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz. In comparison, a little more than 10 percent of white workers fall into this category.


But while black and Hispanic workers experience similar rates of underemployment, they often differ when it comes to unemployment — the measure of just workers who are out of a job but actively seeking a new one. Hispanic workers have a slightly lower rate, likely thanks to how many have part-time work even though they’d rather work full-time.

EPI unemployment rate race

In fact black unemployment has consistently remained higher than for white workers, hovering above 10 percent for most of the past 50 years and remaining above that level since the recession. One piece of that puzzle is that employers, who already tend to be white, are very likely to hire friends and acquaintances who tend to be of the same race.

The disparity between workers of color and white workers also starts young. New data shows that minority students fall far behind their white peers when it comes to college readiness, with just 5 percent of black high school students at that level in four subject areas. Yet even the highest scoring students of color are still less likely than low scoring white children to get a college education. Once they do get to college, they tend to be disproportionately concentrated in less elite and less well funded schools than white students.