African American Teen Unemployment Up 14% in July to Well Over Six Times National Average

Research shows defeated minimum wage hike would have made it even harder for teens to find work
  • Publication Date: August 2006

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

Washington DC – While the nation’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.8%, the unemployment rate among African American teens jumped by 14% in the month of July to the shockingly high rate of 31.6%, according to the Labor Department’s July jobs report. This high rate of unemployment would have only worsened had the Senate approved a hike in the federal minimum wage on Thursday, according to the Employment Policies Institute.

Overall teenage unemployment continues to hover around 15%, while African American teen unemployment remains more than six times the national rate. This translates into well over a quarter of a million (278,000) African American teenagers who are actively seeking employment but are having a hard time getting their foot in the door.

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.

“The health of the entry-level job market was threatened this week as the Senate played political games with the minimum wage,” said Michael Flynn, director of Legislative Affairs for the Employment Policies Institute. “Historically, low-skilled jobs have been lost following minimum wage hikes, and we know that it is young African Americans who bear the brunt of the unintended consequences from this antiquated policy.”, 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.