Racial diversity in Minn. workplaces on the upswing

But the unemployment rate for black or African-American people continues to increase.

Fletcher Wolfe

Twenty years ago, minorities held 9.5 percent of Minnesota’s jobs. That number almost doubled by 2014.
 
 

But the consistently higher number of white people with jobs has spurred a wage disparity, with whites making more than two dollars per hour more than minorities,   according to a December state report.
 
 
“If graduates were more equally represented across majors, we might see fewer differences by race in industries of employment after graduation and thus less wage disparity,” the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development report said.
 
 
According to the DEED report, white people tend to major in engineering and business majors, leading to higher paying jobs. For liberal arts, culinary and personal service majors, the predominant population is composed of minorities.
 
 
Across majors, white men had higher median earnings than black or Asian men, who made 87.7 and 91.3 percent of what white men made, respectively.
 
 

Lack of representation of minorities in certain majors can discourage minorities from seeking degrees in those majors, a DEED report says.
 
 
Hennepin and Ramsey Counties collectively have 61.5 percent of the jobs held by minority workers, with most of those jobs in Hennepin County.
 
 
Administrative and support services jobs comprised 19.8 percent of Minnesotan jobs held by people of color, while minorities held 11.3 percent of jobs in all industries, according to another DEED report.
 
 
The retail and the accommodation and food services industries in the Twin Cities employ 22,000 black people, 15,000 Asian people and 7,000 workers who identify as two or more races.
 
 
“Though still less diverse than the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota is seeing greater diversity in its workforce,” another December report said.
 
 
Black or African-American people saw a 310.9 percent change in the number of jobs held since 1995.
 
 
While the workplace is becoming more diverse, the unemployment rate for black or African-American people continues to rise.
 
 
In 2014, the average national unemployment rate for white people was 5.3 percent, while black or African-American people saw 11.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 
 
As of March, Minnesota’s black or African-American population had an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. That number was 12.4 a year ago. The unemployment rate of white people and Hispanic or Latino people decreased since last year, as did the total unemployment rate of the state.