Blacks, Hispanics still behind whites for high-pay positions
WASHINGTON – Blacks and Hispanics lag behind whites for higher-paying jobs at the largest rates in about a decade as employment opportunities dwindled during the nation’s economic woes and the housing market slump.
Census data released Monday show an increasingly educated U.S. work force whose earnings didn’t always seem to match up with its potential.
“The lesson of most economic downturns is minorities are the last hired, first fired. They lose jobs more quickly, and they will be the last to recover,” said Roderick Harrison, a demographer at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that studies minority issues.
Blacks overall slightly narrowed the gap in 2007 with whites in average salary, but the pay disparity widened for blacks with college degrees.
Blacks who had a four-year bachelor’s degree earned $46,502, or about 78 percent of the salary for comparably educated whites.
Hispanics saw similar trends.
Those with high school diplomas earned about 83 cents for whites’ every dollar, largely unchanged from a decade ago. But Hispanics with bachelor’s degrees had an average salary of $44,696, amounting to roughly 75 cents for every dollar made by whites – the lowest ratio in more than a decade – after hitting a peak of 87 cents to every dollar in 2000.
The numbers highlight some of the barriers for minorities, said Mark Mather, a demographer for the Population Reference Bureau.
He said the pay disparities could widen further since blacks and Hispanics tend to be relative latecomers to the professional world.