In this op-ed, Senior Research Fellow Algernon Austin explains that “the best anti-poverty program is a good job.”
African Americans have been suffering from high levels of joblessness for two generations. Since the 1960s, the black-to-white unemployment-rate ratio has been about 2-to-1.
African Americans want to work. Only persons actively looking for work are counted as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. African Americans are also much better educated today than they were in the 1960s. The share of black young adults completing college has quadrupled since 1960. In spite of this educational advance, the black unemployment rate continues to be twice the white unemployment rate. Even black graduates with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) bachelor’s degrees are twice as likely to be unemployed as white graduates with STEM degrees.