Wages increased across Pa. in 2018, but the benefits aren’t reaching everyone

The latest jobs report from the Keystone Research Center finds the unemployment rate for black Pennsylvanians is more than twice that of their white counterparts.

  • Kathleen Davis/WESA

(Undated) — Despite high employment and wage increases for Pennsylvanians last year, black residents aren’t seeing the same amount of growth.

The latest jobs report from the left-leaning Keystone Research Center finds that for black Pennsylvanians, the unemployment rate is more than twice that of their white counterparts, 8.4 percent compared to just under 4 percent. Additionally, adjusting for inflation, their median wage is 10 percent lower today than it was 40 years ago.

For white Pennsylvanians, wages have grown over the same time period.

“What’s going on in Pennsylvania mirrors a lot of what’s going on here in Pittsburgh,” said University of Pittsburgh economist Chris Briem. “The labor force is strong, unemployment rate is low, but that doesn’t mean everyone is benefiting.”

The report recommends the commonwealth promote inclusive economic growth by raising the minimum wage and ensuring overtime pay for salaried workers. It also recommends increasing the minimum salary for teachers in Pennsylvania, which is currently set at $18,500.

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