Garrett Clinton and Jimmie Johnson
The discussion of race and economics is deeply rooted in pre-established systematic flaws. These flaws, whether financial or social, trace back to the origin of America. However, does an American economy truly stand as a discriminatory institution of democracy? Historically, both the unemployment rates of those of labor force respondents who classify themselves as white always rank lower while their wage rates always ranks considerably higher than those of the African-American race.
Although unemployment rates follow a similar trend, it is essential to note the severity of the rates (identified on the y axis above). It is extremely hard to simply believe African-American's are always below the unemployment rate of Caucasians strictly based off of coincidence. What are the factors that keep both the trend and the differences consistent? This question must be answered to determine if the labor force is either prejudice or flawed.
Looking at the wage gap between African Americans and Caucasians we can see that Caucasians consistently make more than African-Americans. Looking at the current FRED graphs for wages among African Americans and Caucasians, we can see that the wages, albeit African American’s still make less, followed the same trajectory. However, from 2016-2017 Caucasians median usual weekly real earnings increased from $359 to $363, while African Americans decreased from $282 to $278. Not only were African- American wages already lower, the gap just got bigger.
One may look to education to explain why the wage gap is larger. It is true that a higher percentage of Caucasians have a college degree than African Americans. According to a 2015 report by the census bureau, 32.8% of Caucasians had a Bachelor’s degree or higher while only 22.5% of African Americans did. However, the problem isn’t when people have an educational gap, but when there is a discrepancy in pay among people with equivalent educations. In a 2016 article by Valerie Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute she presents data that shows that African Americans are paid less that Caucasians regardless of if they have similar educations. For people with only a high school diploma, Caucasians are paid approximately $3.76 more than African-Americans. Even worse, for people with a bachelor’s degree, Caucasians are paid approximately $6.06 more than African-Americans.
While many factors, such as experience and age, play into why someone gets paid a particular wage, this data is still startling, especially as someone who will be joining the workforce soon. Throughout our lives we haven’t experienced much racial injustice, but this data illustrates to us that we need to start preparing for the harsh realities of the world.
Note that you can add a second line to a FRED graph under Edit Graph ==> Add Line. It's a little klutzy but here's the top two graphs put into one....the prof