William Darity: Ninety-​​five per­cent job­less­ness for teen black male dropouts? That esti­mate, from North­eastern University’s Andrew Sum, bor­ders on the fan­tastic as an indict­ment of the Amer­ican labor market.

Add to Sum’s damning sta­tistic the finding that blacks with some col­lege edu­ca­tion or an associate’s degree expe­ri­enced higher unem­ploy­ment than whites who had dropped out of high school, and you can see this racial gap in unem­ploy­ment is a pro­found index of the degree of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Amer­ican labor markets.

Where there’s unem­ploy­ment, there’s impris­on­ment. Male high school drop-​​outs of all races are nearly 50 times as likely to be impris­oned as their peers of the same age who have a col­lege degree. But in a 2009 study, Sum’s Center for Labor Studies at North­eastern found that almost one quarter of all young black men ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school are in jail, prison or juve­nile jus­tice insti­tu­tions. These con­di­tions should be an auto­matic call to arms for dra­matic social change to create sub­stan­tive work oppor­tu­ni­ties for all of these young men.

Read the article at PBS NewsHour →