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September 07, 2007
Most Black Workers Earn $12.87 an Hour or Less

Fifty-four percent of black workers with full-time jobs in the United States earn $12.87 per hour or less, compared with 39.3 percent of white workers with full-time jobs, according to a report by the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education.

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The report, "Job Quality and Black Workers: An Examination of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York," analyzes low-wage jobs among black workers, using data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

The report found that black workers are concentrated in industries that pay low wages. Three industry sectors--manufacturing, retail trade, and health care and social assistance--employ approximately 40 percent of all black workers.

In retail, 69.4 percent of black workers with full-time jobs received low wages, compared with 55.4 percent of white retail workers.

"It's no surprise that there's a jobs crisis in the black community, but what this report shows is that we really can't keep focusing exclusively on the issue of black unemployment," says Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at the center and author of the report. "This is a two-dimensional problem that includes both the crisis of unemployment in the black community and the crisis of low-wage jobs."

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