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