African-Americans college students are about as likely to get hired as whites who have dropped out of high school. So says a new report from a non-profit called Young Invincibles, which analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census and examined the effect race and education levels have on unemployment. “We were startled to see just how much more education young African-Americans must get in order to have the same chance at landing a job as their white peers,” said Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles, in a statement.
While the report paints a bleak picture for African-American college student job seekers who are competing with poorly educated whites, it also offers some encouraging news for black students who stay in school and get their diplomas: As both blacks and whites earn higher degrees, the difference in unemployment rates among the races narrows. Among black and white men who have earned bachelor’s degrees, the unemployment gap is only 5%. For black women who have bachelor’s degrees, the gap with whites is just 3%. For blacks and whites who earn professional degrees, the gap almost disappears.