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Has Education Paid Off for Black Workers?

Has Education Paid Off for Black Workers?

Although African American workers are significantly better educated than they were three decades ago, they're actually less likely to be in good jobs, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

"Has Education Paid Off for Black Workers?" finds that in 1979 just one in 10 African American workers had a bachelor's degree or more—but by 2011, one in four black workers had a college degree. During the same period, the share of black workers who had good jobs fell from 20.8% to 19.6%. The study defines "good jobs" as those paying at least $19 an hour (the inflation-adjusted median wage for male workers in 1979) and includes employer-provided health insurance and some type of employer-sponsored retirement plan.

The reason? The report blames "discrimination against black workers and an economy-wide decline in the bargaining power of workers. These broader factors include an erosion of the value of the minimum wage and a decline in unionization rates in the private sector."

Read the full report here.

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