The Wage Gap Between Black And White Workers Essay

The Wage Gap Between Black And White Workers Essay

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The wage gap between black and white workers in the US has increased significantly since 1979, all while productivity has gone up by nearly 63 percent overall, according to a new report.Racial wage discrimination, racial disparities in "unobserved or unmeasured skills," overall rising unemployment, weakened labor unions, and insignificant minimum-wage increases have led to a widening of the black-white wage gap over the last 30 years, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In 2015, black men made 22 percent less, and black women made 34.2 percent less, in average hourly wages compared to white men with the same education, work experience, region of residence, and metro status, the EPI found, while black women made 11.7 percent less than white women with the same characteristics. In 1979, black men and women who shared the same characteristics as their white peers made 16.9 percent less and 4.5 percent less, respectively.Overall average hourly wage gaps have widened as well. Black men 's average hourly wages had fallen to 31 percent lower than those of white men by 2015, compared to 22.2 percent lower in 1979. Black women 's average hourly wages had decreased to 19 percent lower than white women in 2015, as opposed to 6 percent lower in 1979.

The EPI began its analysis with 1979 wage data given that 's when US wage growth began to diverge from productivity growth.

"People should be troubled and really question why we would observe this pattern through 2015,” said Valerie Wilson, director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy and co-author of the report, according to the Huffington Post. “Is the American dream really obtainable ― equally obtainable for all people?”Though the racial wage gap has grown ove...


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...vantaged by declining unionization in the US. Since 1983, when data on union membership by race became available, the black-white wage gap has increased by 1.6 percent among male entrants and 3 percent among experienced male workers. One-fourth to one-fifth of this growth can be attributed to unionization decline, EPI said, regardless of experience.

"The fingerprints of several policy decisions and business practices, including eroded labor standards, weakened labor market institutions, and excessive executive pay growth, can be found in the history of wage growth in the past generation," EPI wrote in the report.

"The disconnect between wage and productivity growth means that the majority of workers have reaped few of the economic rewards they helped to produce over the last 36 years because most of the benefits have gone to those at the very top of the wage scale."

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