One of my own pieces of good fortune, when I left home at age 17, was that the unemployment rate for black 17-year-old males was in single digits that year — for the last time. The minimum-wage law was ten years old, and the wage specified in that law was now so low that it was irrelevant, after years of inflation. It was the same as if there were no minimum-wage law.
As the minimum wage kept getting raised, so did the unemployment rate for black 17-year-old males. In 1971 it was 33.4 percent — and it has never been under 30 percent since then. It has often been over 40 percent and, occasionally, over 50 percent.