Report: Deep Disparities Between Baltimore’s Black and White Workers

Posted May 9, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
African-American occupational therapist works with patient

In Bal­ti­more, African-Amer­i­can work­ers are dis­con­nect­ed from jobs that pro­vide fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages and oppor­tu­ni­ties for advance­ment, accord­ing to a new report from the non­prof­it Asso­ci­at­ed Black Char­i­ties.

The report, Analy­sis of Pat­terns of Employ­ment by Race in Bal­ti­more City and the Bal­ti­more Met­ro­pol­i­tan Area, uti­lizes data com­piled by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Baltimore’s Jacob France Insti­tute. These data reveal a dra­mat­ic racial divide in Baltimore’s employ­ment land­scape, includ­ing in the areas of:

Medi­an Annu­al Incomes 
African-Amer­i­can employ­ees in Bal­ti­more earn sig­nif­i­cant­ly less than their white coun­ter­parts, accord­ing to the data. African-Amer­i­cans work­ers earn $38,688 in Bal­ti­more City and $38,798 in the greater met­ro­pol­i­tan area while white work­ers earn $76,992 in the city and $66,612 metro-wide.

Turnover Rates
In both the city and metro area, the turnover rate among African-Amer­i­can employ­ees is 12%. This rate exceed­ed turnover rates for all employ­ees (9% city-wide and 10% metro-wide) and all white employ­ees (8% city-wide and 9% metro-wide).

Employ­ment Sectors
African-Amer­i­can employ­ment is high­ly con­cen­trat­ed in four indus­tries — trans­porta­tion and ware­hous­ing; health care and social assis­tance; admin­is­tra­tive sup­port and waste man­age­ment; and retail trade — that have low­er wages than many com­pet­ing sec­tors. These four indus­tries account for 63% of African-Amer­i­can jobs in the city and 58% of African-Amer­i­can jobs in the metro area. At the same time, African-Amer­i­can work­ers remain under-rep­re­sent­ed in the pro­fes­sion­al, sci­en­tif­ic and tech­ni­cal ser­vices fields, which are among the area’s high­est pay­ing jobs and con­sid­ered key fac­tors in the region’s eco­nom­ic growth.

Diane Bell-McK­oy, pres­i­dent and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of Asso­ci­at­ed Black Char­i­ties, recent­ly dis­cussed the organization’s research and sub­se­quent report. We hope this study is a first step toward under­stand­ing employ­ment pat­terns and address­ing the chal­lenges that exist for African-Amer­i­can work­ers in our city,” she said dur­ing a recent pan­el dis­cus­sion at the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. If we don’t look deep­er at what the data are telling us, we won’t be able to devel­op strate­gies to remove racial bar­ri­ers and sup­port eco­nom­ic mobility.”

The data also high­light­ed some good news for black work­ers: They are out­pac­ing their white peers — across near­ly all indus­tries — in terms of post-reces­sion employ­ment growth. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true in Bal­ti­more City, where African-Amer­i­can employ­ment grew by 14% even as the employ­ment rate among white work­ers fell.

Yet, Bell-McK­oy cau­tions that sim­ply hav­ing a job isn’t enough. We must be more inten­tion­al about invest­ing in our work­ers and cre­at­ing advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for them,” says Bell-McK­oy. African-Amer­i­can fam­i­lies in Bal­ti­more need sus­tain­able careers that pay them equi­tably and offer path­ways to finan­cial stability.”

Read the report

Learn about Casey’s Work­force Devel­op­ment Efforts in East Baltimore

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