A job seeker fills out an application at a career fair in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
A job seeker fills out an application at a career fair in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

The Economic Policy Institute has released a new study on the growing pay gap between white and African-American workers.

Right now, African-American men make 22 percent less than their white peers. African-American women make 34 percent less.

The study looks at wages from 1979 to 2015. It reaches some surprising conclusions. For example, among African-Americans with a degree:

“College graduates actually saw their gap widen more than any other educational group over this period of time,” said study co-author Valerie Wilson

Wilson said there just aren’t that many African-Americans in the top 1 percent of earners, where wage growth is fastest.  

Wilson said young African-American women, in particular, have lost ground since the recession. Because fewer went to college. They couldn’t afford it. And there’s another reason they fell behind. Office jobs that don’t require degrees are disappearing.

“Fewer and fewer of the support jobs are available as people become their own secretaries and their own phone answerers,” said Margaret Simms of the Urban Institute.

Older African-American men are also struggling. The study says many joined the workforce during the recession of the 1980s, at lower starting salaries. That left them permanently behind.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Nancy Marshall-Genzer at @MarshallGenzer