African American Teen Unemployment Up 11% in June to More than Six Times National Average

Federal minimum wage increase will make it even harder for the quarter of a million African American youth to find a job
  • Publication Date: July 2006

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

Washington DC – While overall unemployment remains steady at 4.6%, the unemployment rate among African American teens increased by 11% in the month of June to the shockingly high rate of 27.8%, according to the Labor Department’s June jobs report. This bleak employment outlook for young African Americans threatens to become much worse as lawmakers return to the Capitol next week and again take up the debate to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, according to the Employment Policies Institute.

While overall teenage unemployment continues to hover around 15%, African American teen unemployment remains more than six times the national rate. This translates into about 244,000 African American teenagers actively seeking employment who are finding it difficult to secure a job.

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.

“Raising the minimum wage is going to make it even harder for young African Americans to get their foot in the door and start gaining lifelong skills that will help them up the ladder of success,” said Michael Flynn, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Employment Policies Institute., 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.