The unemployment rate for African Americans is double that of whites. During times of tight labor markets, African Americans experience a higher rate of income growth when compared to other racial groups, yet are the last to be hired and the first to lose positions during downturns. Full employment holds the promise of a better financial future yet racial discrimination, a lack of consistent job growth, and rising costs all contribute to its failure to enhance the African American way of life.

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Despite the benefits of full employment, there continues to be a lack of demand and consistency in the job market. Wages are lower amongst the African American community when compared to those of whites of Hispanics. According to Morrison, wages for black workers have fallen 44 cents in the past 15 years yet white and Hispanic workers’ wages have increased by 45 and 48 cents. In addition to the low wages, interest rates are raised during employment peaks to keep down inflation which makes it difficult to overcome poverty. Refinancing and making large purchases—such as for a home—become nearly impossible to do despite the strengthening job market.

Race unfortunately has been shown to play a role in employment despite laws put in place to protect against discrimination. When competing against white applicants, nicknames and the range of professional relationships can lower black’s chances of getting positions. African American males are more likely to be suspended or fired for the same situations that peers from other racial groups may be in. As a result of a lack of employment opportunities, African Americans have higher rates of crime, teen pregnancies, single-parent families, and poverty. High poverty rates limit the ability to afford a higher education in order to improve economic status, which can keep the cycle of poverty in effect for the later generations.

  • Baker, Dean. “How to Fight Poverty Through Full Employment.” Truthout. N.p., 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • DeSilver, Drew. “Black Unemployment Rate Is Consistently Twice That of Whites.” Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 2013. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • Morrison, Aaron. “Black Unemployment Rate 2015: In Better Economy, African-Americans See Minimal Gains.” International Business Times. N.p., 08 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • Randall, Vernellia. “Race, Racism and the Law.” Race, Racism and the Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.