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Black workers suffer sharp income fall

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Black people have suffered a sharp income drop while white people saw a small increase, the latest census report revealed yesterday.

The Population and Housing Census Report for 2016 showed black workers had an average 13 per cent decline in income between 2010 and 2016.

But white workers had a 1 per cent increase in personal gross income over the same period.

The average personal gross income fell from $58,466 to $53,716 although inflation rose by 12 per cent between 2010-16.

Bermudians felt the brunt of the decline as their average personal gross income fell by 9 per cent, compared with non-Bermudians, who had an average drop of 1 per cent.

The report said: “The sole increase in median annual personal gross income during the intercensal period for racial groups occurred among whites, driven largely by white males who experienced a 2 per cent increase in median income.

“Blacks had the largest decrease at 13 per cent, as the income levels of both black males and females experienced double-digit percentage declines over the period.

“Black males experienced the largest decrease in median income of 13 per cent — $7,281 — followed by black females of 12 per cent — $6,569.”

The census also showed the median annual household gross income fell from $103,657 to $93,713, a drop of 9.6 per cent.

The report said part of the overall decline was the result of an increase in single-person households.

The report explained: “A greater proportion of households occupied the lower income bands compared with six years prior.

“The percentage of households in the lowest income band, $1 to $36,000, increased four percentage points during the 2010 to 2016 period, while the highest income band, $144,000 and above, decreased by four percentage points over the same period.”

The average household size fell from 2.39 people to 2.26 people during the six-year period.

Unemployment rates remained unchanged at 7 per cent, but white unemployment fell from 5 per cent to 3 per cent between 2010-16.

Unemployment among black people remained steady at 9 per cent.

Young people were also the most likely to be unemployed.

The report said: “In 2016, the unemployment rate of 23 per cent for persons 16 to 24 years was the highest among all age groups, 1 percentage point higher than the rate in 2010.

“The age group 25 to 34 had the second highest unemployment rate of 8 per cent. The lowest unemployment rate of 4 per cent was reported for persons 65 years and older.”

The public sector suffered the largest number of job losses, falling from 3,819 people in 2010 to 2,628 people in 2016.

Manufacturing, transport and communications, financial intermediation, and real estate and renting services also had employment declines.

But several industry categories reported an increase in jobs — the number of people employed in education, health and social work fields rose by 826 from 4,338 to 5,164.

Hotels and restaurants, business services and international business sectors also had an increase in employment.

Average incomes declined for both men and women. Men were hit with an average 9 per cent drop and women with an 8 per cent fall.

However, men still, on average, earn more than women with an average personal income of $55,419 compared with $51,752 for women — a $3,667 gender gap.

But that difference was flipped when only those with full-time jobs — 35 hours or more per week — were looked at.

Women in full-time positions earned an average income of $66,496 in 2016, 5 per cent more than in 2010, while men with full-time jobs earned an average of $64,283, a decline of just under 1 per cent.

The report said much of the change appeared to be related to a decline in average income for black men.

The report said: “Analysis by race and sex showed increases across every category with the exception of black males who experienced a decline in median annual gross income from their main job.

“White males, the highest income earning group among the working population, earned a median income of $96,824.

“This level was nearly one and a half times higher than the median income for the entire working population and 11 per cent more than was earned in 2010.

“The income level of white males exceeded those of black males by 70 per cent and was 17 per cent higher than the income level of white females.”

The report also revealed that employees spent 40 hours a week at their main job in 2016, compared with 41 hours a week in 2010.

Women were more likely to work part-time in their primary job, while men were more likely to work full-time with overtime.

The survey also found that 8 per cent of people in the workforce had no formal academic certificates and 37 per cent had a high school certificate.

Graphic by Nikesha Burrows

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Published May 03, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated May 03, 2018 at 11:10 am)

Black workers suffer sharp income fall

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