Joblessness, Discrimination, and Black Poverty

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The African-American poverty rate rose to 25.8 percent in 2009. That the poverty rate would increase from 2008 to 2009 was not a surprise. Black workers lost jobs in 2009. When blacks lose work black poverty increases. Alternatively, when blacks find work poverty declines. The highest employment rate for African Americans on record was in 2000 and the lowest African-American poverty rate on record was in 2000.

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If we want to lower the black poverty rate we need (1) strong job creation like we had in the late 1990s, and (2) we need to make certain that blacks truly have equal employment opportunity. It is necessary to do more to ensure equal opportunity because researchers still find that employers show a strong preference in favor of white job applicants. When white and black “testers” apply to the same jobs presenting equivalent qualifications, the white testers receive more interviews and more job offers.

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