Report: Companies Are Not Hiring Black Men, and That’s Costing the U.S. Economy $50 Billion Annually

Black men are still having a hard time landing employment. The unemployment rate for Black men was 7.3% in November 2021, compared to 3.4% among white men, according to Labor Department data. About 697,000 Black men are still looking for work, even as the U.S. recorded 10.6 million vacant jobs in November. 

Black men
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Fact is, companies still aren’t hiring Black men. And not hiring them to fill the open jobs results in $50 billion being lost for the economy, a new study says.

Black men are excluded from the workforce due to racist hiring practices as well being killed and imprisoned at higher rates than other groups, found a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). 

The void of Black men in the workplace has a ripple effect. It negatively impacts Black men and their families and communities — and the country loses billions a year.

If the government focused on closing the Black-white jobs gap, “we could add about $30 billion annually to Black communities and make a significant reduction in Black poverty,” writes Algernon Austin, the author of the CEPR study.

The figure increased from $30 billion to $50 billion when factoring in Black men of prime working age who die or are incarcerated. In 2020, the incarceration rate of African-Americans in local jails was 465 incarcerations per 100,000 of the population — the highest rate of any ethnicity, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

A Brookings Institution study from last March found that incarcerated Black men account for a third of all Black men excluded from the labor force. 

Black men have always had high unemployment.

For Black men, there is never a period of “low” unemployment

The unemployment rate for Black men has never been “low,” Austin told Business Insider. It has always been high, very high, or extremely high. 

While employers call the current labor conditions in the U.S. a “shortage,” Black men still aren’t being hired.

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