Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
Topic: African-American wages
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August 28, 2013 at 10:32 AM
The seminal event that took place 50 years ago was officially called The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The progress since then is undeniable: No more “colored-only” facilities, no more de jure segregation of Jim Crow. The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, with essential Republican support — although that is now being eroded. We are far from Dr. King’s dream but we are a different country and, in matters of racial equality, a better one. The “jobs” part of the march is a different matter. The marchers advocated “jobs for all,” in addition to decent housing, good and integrated education and a minimum wage that would be $13 in today’s dollars.
In July, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 13.4 percent vs. 6.8 percent for whites. That’s July 2013. For Hispanics, it was 9.5 percent. For African-Americans age 16 to 19, it was a staggering 41.6 percent compared with 20.3 percent for whites. Ground has been lost since 2000, when the black unemployment rate had fallen to 7.6 percent from 13 percent in 1993. According to the Census Bureau, median income for black males was $23,584 in 2011; for black females it was $19.561. Both were down substantially from 2002. For whites, the numbers were $35,344 for men and $21,379 for women (also losing ground).