New Study Delivers ‘Overwhelming Evidence’ of Racial Discrimination in the Job Market

CEPR: Racial Discrimination a major feature of the labor market, black men without criminal records faring worse than recently incarcerated white men

For millions of African Americans struggling to get a foot in the door in today’s job market, the findings released by a comprehensive new study are “a kick in the gut.”

The study released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research backs up claims that fewer doors are opening for African Americans trying to find work.

Center for Economic Policy Research

The study titled, “A College Degree is No Guarantee” shows “there is simply overwhelming evidence that discrimination remains a major feature of the labor market.”

According to study authors Janell Jones and John Schmitt, “Black men were less likely to receive a callback than equally qualified white men, and black men with no criminal record fared worse than recently incarcerated white men. Blacks also placed last in the racial hierarchy, with employers favoring white men, and then Latino men, and only then black men.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also finds overall unemployment among blacks has consistently been twice that of white workers.

Another key finding by the study, “Resumes with white sounding names received 50% more callbacks from potential employers than the resumes with black sounding names. White respondents with ‘high quality’ resumes received 27% more call backs than white respondents with ‘low quality’ resumes, but black respondents with high quality resumes received only eight percent more call backs than black respondents with low quality resumes.”

Also troubling, “More recently a Chicago-based consulting firm found that 60 partners at law firms rated the same legal brief consistently lower when told the author was black (3.2 out of 5), compared to when they were told the author was white.”

Reviewers were also more likely to point out spelling, grammar and technical errors when under the impression the author was black.

The CEPR study authors also note that in 2013 more than half (55.9%) of black recent graduates who did have jobs were “underemployed.” It does caution though, that even before the great recession, almost half of recent black graduates were underemployed. That percentage stood at 45% in 2007.

Several federal laws that address racial discrimination in the workplace are listed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It includes the failure or refusal to hire a potential employee based on race.

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