Black men are unemployed at a much higher rate than their counterparts — and it’s creating an economic crisis in the country.
According to the Atlanta Black Star, Black communities take a hit totaling $50 billion annually in costs due to this unemployment crisis.
“Black people need to take this report and take it to their elected official and say ‘You need to do more because you don’t fully realize how big this problem is,’” said Algernon Austin, who authored the study initially published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “I’m hoping that this work serves to inspire people, and, frankly, particularly Black men.”
And that’s just the beginning of the problems, according to Austin. Using data going all the way back to 2014, he revealed that Black men between the ages of 25 to 54 would have to get nearly a million jobs (947,000, to be exact) to be on par with their non-Black counterparts and close the economic gap. What’s more, if one million of them got jobs and kept them, they’d be adding literally billions of dollars to their respective economies in doing so.
It’s not just the money that will benefit their communities, Austin said. Rather, by simply getting a million jobs, Black men can help their communities drop their crime rates, have longer surviving small businesses and higher educational attainment among children.
“If we can get that $50 billion in, not only are people’s lives made better today, but the next generation is going to be better off,” Austin said.
Black Men & Unemployment by the Numbers
A study conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research revealed that there’s a huge employment gap between Black men and their counterparts. In October 2021, the unemployment statistics revealed that Black men have an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, while their white counterparts only had a 4 percent unemployment rate.
Despite this sobering statistic, experts remain hopeful about the future.
“There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment both in terms of employment and in terms of participation,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a news conference.