The Black Workforce by the Numbers

Do you know the average weekly pay of black men versus black women? What about the percentage of black people in white-collar positions? This Labor Day, take a look at the stats.

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Labor Day, widely considered to mark the unofficial last weekend of summer, is, of course, also an annual celebration of the contributions American workers make to society. What does the black part of that workforce look like? Here, according to, the Department of Labor and other sources, are the numbers:

1. In total, black Americans make up about 12 percent of the workforce. That’s about 18,758,000 black Americans in a workforce of about 155 million people.

2. African Americans are overrepresented in the federal government, which was one of the first sectors to integrate. Just over 20 percent of the black workforce is employed by federal, state and local governments.

3. Sixty-four percent of black female workers are in white-collar positions. Fifty percent of black men hold similar positions.

4. When it comes to blue-collar jobs, 36 percent of black men are employed in that sector, compared with 8 percent of black women.

5. The unemployment rate for black teens remains higher than that of white teenagers. As of July 2014, the unemployment rate for black teenagers ages 16-19 was 34.9 percent, while the unemployment rate for white teens was 18.3 percent.