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Report: Education, Status Doesn’t Fix Wage Gap

Black men and women earn significantly less that their White counterparts largely due to job market discrimination, and the racial wage gap has widened over the last three decades, a new study finds.

The report, entitled “Black-White Wage Gaps Expand with Rising Wage Inequality,” was released by the Economic Policy Institute on Tuesday. It revealed that Black-White wage gaps are larger today than they were in 1979.

“Though the African-American experience is not monolithic, our research reveals that changes in Black education levels or other observable factors are not the primary reason the gaps are growing,” a synopsis of the study’s findings states. “For example, just completing a bachelor’s degree or more will not reduce the Black-White wage gap. Indeed the gaps have expanded most for college graduates.”

Researchers say wage gaps are growing largely because of discrimination — or racial differences in skills or worker characteristics that are unobserved or unmeasured in the data.

During the late 1990s, the gap shrank in part due to tighter labor markets, which made discrimination more costly, along with increases in minimum wage. Since 2000, the gap has grown again.

As of 2015, Black men make 22.0 percent less, and Black women make 34.2 percent less than White men of the same educational level, work experience, metro status and region of residence.

“Our primary finding is that there continues to be no single African-American economic narrative,” the study states. “Black-White wage gaps are larger today than they were in 1979, but the increase has not occurred along a straight line, nor has it affected everyone equally.”

Click here for a full summary of the report.