AAmerican students who graduated in the past two years have faced difficult circumstances due to the pandemic and the difficult landscape of the economy. Although the job market looks bright for recent black graduates, the unemployment rate is still significantly higher for the community. According to the March jobs report, the jobless rate for black men rose to 6.1% in April, from 5.6% since March. However, the unemployment rate for black women fell from 5.5% to 5% that month.
Given this data, let’s take a look at who is considered the most educated group, a designation that has been repeatedly attributed to black women.
Over the past decade-plus, black women have exceeded expectations in the classroom, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics which was released in 2020, the most recent year the data was made available.
More good news is on the horizon as U.S. employers plan to hire 31.6% more black college graduates this year, meaning there will be a slew of opportunities for those coming out. out of school and looking to find work in today’s tough market, but students will need to stand out and learn a host of skills to stay competitive. Studies show that black women, in particular, do just that. According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)Between 2018 and 2019, black women accounted for 68% of associate degrees, 66% of bachelor’s degrees, 71% of master’s degrees, and 65% of doctoral, medical and dental degrees.
The numbers seem to be lower for black women venturing into the IT and STEM world. The group represents only 4.2% of degrees in biological sciences, 2.6% in computer science, 2.8% in physical sciences and 2.3% of degrees in mathematics and statistics, the National Center for Science and Engineering Remarks.
While education may reach new heights for black women across the United States, pay disparities continue to haunt the community and even those with the most impressive qualifications. On average, black women earn about 38% less than white men each year. Black women are more likely to be employed in sectors such as health care, education and hospitality, all of which often pay lower wages. Even those working in well-paying fields like doctors and surgeons are still feeling the unfortunate burn of pay inequality, earning 54 cents for every dollar paid to their non-Hispanic white male counterparts. Despite some of the highest labor force rates, overall Black women only earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men in 2020.
Overall, while black women are certainly getting more degrees, there is still work to be done to ensure they can earn a living after graduation. The data may be grim, but the news shows a promising sign that black women are working diligently to close the wealth gap and build a better future for themselves and their families. Some become the first in their families to attend university, thereby overcoming immense obstacles.
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