Can getting a college diploma help a Black person get on a more even footing with white people in the job marketplace? Not really, according to a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, titled “A College Degree is No Guarantee.” Reports CBS News:
The study shows that in 2013, 12.4 percent of Black college students who earned their diplomas between the ages of 22 and 27 were unemployed. In contrast, college graduates as a whole had an unemployment rate of half that – 5.6 percent.
Just prior to the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for Black college graduates stood at 4.6 percent in 2007. But that number tripled by 2013, boosting up nearly 8 percentage points….
As CBS News points out, overall unemployment among African Americans has consistently been double that of White workers. In April 2014, the Black jobless rate was 10.7 percent, compared with 5.0 percent for Whites, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is not to say that getting a college degree is a waste of time for Black people. In fact, in 2012, the jobless rate for Black high school graduates who were not enrolled in further schooling was nearly 45 percent. The data in the CEPR report simply show that a university education doesn’t neutralize the effects of racial bias by employers. As CBS News relates:
“We absolutely aren’t trying to discourage people from going to college,” Schmitt, a senior economist at the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the National Journal. “College degrees do have value. But what we are trying to show here is that this is not about individuals, or individual effort. There is simply overwhelming evidence that discrimination remains a major feature of the labor market.”