Tight-Labor Markets and Black Employment

Overview

With the nation enjoying a remarkable long and robust economic expansion, AfricanAmerican employment has risen to an all-time high. Does this good news refute the notion of a permanently disadvantaged black underclass, or has one type of disadvantage been replaced by another? Some economists fear that many newly employed minority workers will remain stuck in low-wage jobs, barred from better-paying, high skill jobs by their lack of educational opportunities and entrenched racial discrimination. Prosperity for ...

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Overview

With the nation enjoying a remarkable long and robust economic expansion, AfricanAmerican employment has risen to an all-time high. Does this good news refute the notion of a permanently disadvantaged black underclass, or has one type of disadvantage been replaced by another? Some economists fear that many newly employed minority workers will remain stuck in low-wage jobs, barred from better-paying, high skill jobs by their lack of educational opportunities and entrenched racial discrimination. Prosperity for All? draws upon the research and insights of respected economists to address these important issues.

Prosperity for All? reveals that while African Americans benefit in many ways from a strong job market, serious problems remain. Research presented in this book shows that the ratio of black to white unemployment has actually increased over recent expansions. Even though African American men are currently less likely to leave the workforce, the number of those who do not find work at all has grown substantially, indicating that joblessness is now concentrated among the most alienated members of the population. Other chapters offer striking evidence that racial inequality is still pervasive. Among men, black high school dropouts have more difficulty finding work than their Latino or white counterparts. Likewise, the glass ceiling that limits minority access to higher paying promotions persists even in a strong economy. Prosperity for All? ascribes black disadvantage in the labor force to employer discrimination, particularly when there is strong competition for jobs. As one study illustrates, economic upswings do not appear to change racial preferences among employers, who remain less willing to hire African Americans for more skilled low-wage jobs.

Prosperity for All? offers a timely investigation into the impact of strong labor markets on low-skill African-American workers, with important insights into the issues engendered by the weakening of federal assistance, job training, and affirmative action programs.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Scholars of economics and social work investigate whether the all-time high employment among African Americans refutes the notion of a permanent disadvantaged black underclass, or has replaced one type of disadvantage with another so that newly employed minority workers will remain stuck in low-wage jobs by their lack of educational opportunities and entrenched racial discrimination. The nine studies and commentary are based on a 1998 conference at the Foundation in New York City. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Under the expert editorial guidance of Robert Cherrry and William Rodgers, Prosperity for All? provides an indepth set of articles on the economic boom and AfroAmerican experiences. While employment among blacks has risen to an alltime high, the book questions whether one type of disadvantage has been replaced by another, and examines what types of jobs are offered to AfroAmericans, and by whom. Excellent survey of the realities of the new prosperity for the underclass. Privacy in the Information Age Harry Henderson Facts on File 11 Penn Plaza, New York NY 100012006
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871541970
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT CHERRY is professor of economics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

WILLIAM M. RODGERS III is chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. He is on leave from the College of William and Mary where he is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of Economics.

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Table of Contents

Contributors ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction xv
Part I Employment and the Boom 1
Chapter 1 The Effect of Tighter Labor Markets on Unemployment of Hispanics and African Americans: The 1990s Experience 3
Chapter 2 Area Economic Conditions and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Young Men in the 1990s Expansion 50
Chapter 3 Black-White Employment Differential in a Tight Labor Market 88
Commentary I Urban Racial Unemployment Differentials: The New York Case 110
Part II Racial Discrimination and the Boom 127
Chapter 4 How Labor-Market Tightness Affects Employer Attitudes and Actions Toward Black Job Applicants: Evidence from Employer Surveys 129
Chapter 5 Exclusionary Practices and Glass-Ceiling Effects Across Regions: What Does the Current Expansion Tell Us? 160
Chapter 6 What Do We Need to Explain About African American Unemployment? 188
Commentary II In Good Times and Bad: Discrimination and Unemployment 208
Part III Social Dimensions of the Boom 215
Chapter 7 Looking at the Glass Ceiling: Do White Men Receive Higher Returns to Tenure and Experience? 217
Chapter 8 Barriers to the Employment of Welfare Recipients 245
Chapter 9 The Impact of Labor Market Prospects on Incarceration Rates 279
Commentary III Glass Ceilings, Iron Bars, Income Floors 308
Index 313
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