Economic Policy


Underemployment disproportionately high in African-American community

The problem of underemployment is one that affects the entire country but disproportionately impacts the African American community. An annual report by the National Urban League, One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America,  found that African Americans were twice as likely as whites to be underemployed. Underemployment was defined as either currently being jobless or working part-time but desiring to work full-time.

Key findings of the report:

  • Underemployment rates by races: whites- 11.8%, Hispanics-18.4%, African Americans- 20.5% 
  • Unemployment rates by races: whites- 6.5%, Hispanics-9.1%, African Americans- 13.1% 
  • Oklahoma City, Okla., Washington D.C., and Harrisburg, PA had the lowest African American unemployment rates of 80 metropolitan cities across the county.

Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health