January Jobs Report Reveals African American Teen Unemployment Increases to Almost 7 Times the National Rate

Mandated Minimum Wage Hikes Would Exacerbate Problem
  • Publication Date: February 2006

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

Washington – While 193,000 new jobs were created in January and overall unemployment dropped to 4.7%, the African Americans teen unemployment rate remains shockingly high at 31.4%.

Troublingly, while overall teenage unemployment saw a slight decrease from 13.4% to 13.3%, African American teen unemployment increased to 6.7 times the national rate. This bleak employment outlook threatens to become much worse as states across the nation consider mandated minimum wage hikes.

Decades of economic research conclude that mandated wage hikes eliminate entry-level jobs, putting particular pressure on minorities and the low-skilled. A Cornell University study found that black young adults typically bear almost four times the employment loss of their non-black counterparts after a minimum wage increase. Specifically, they found that a 10% increase in the minimum wage will result in an 8.5% decrease in employment for black young adults and teenagers.

“These populations are already suffering from high unemployment and will only experience further barriers to employment if the minimum wage is increased. This troubling economic reality should be taken into strong consideration by anyone considering a minimum wage hike—whether it is in the legislature or at the ballot box,” said Michael Flynn, Legislative Director for the Employment Policies Institute.

Gatewayjobs.com, a website focusing on the crisis in entry-level employment, provides regularly updated statistics detailing the employment market for entry-level employees and vital information about a host of government assistance programs designed to promote employment and economic success.