Andrew Sum, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, is lead author on a new report “Trends in Black Male Joblessness and Year-Round Idleness: An Employment Crisis Ignored”.
Employment rates among black male teens and young adults ages 16 to 19 have dropped considerably over the past 50 years, the study found. In 1954, a slight majority -- 52 percent -- of black male teens worked, a rate slightly in excess of their white peers. By 2003, however, only one of five black male teens was employed in a typical month – just 20 percent -- only half the employment rate of white male teens. Among 20 to 24 year old black males, employment rates also have declined considerably from their peak values of 77 to 83 percent in the mid to late 1960s to dramatic 50-year lows more recently. During 2003, for example, just 56 percent of such young black men ages 20 to 24 was employed.
Among older black men, the same dramatic declines were noted over time, according to the report. While the employment rates of black men rise from their late teens through their mid 30s, high levels of joblessness prevail among these men into their late 20s (30 percent of 25 to 29 year old black men were jobless in 2003, for example), then rise sharply as they reach their mid-50s. One of the most disturbing findings was the high share of black males ages 20 to 64 that were jobless year-round. In 2002, one of every four black men in this age group – a full quarter of the entire population within this wide age range -- was idle all year-round, up from 20 percent in the peak labor market year of 2002.
The year-round idleness rate for black men varies by age, educational attainment, and geographic location. Idleness rates in 2002 ranged from a low of 18 percent for those ages 35 to 44 to a high of nearly 42 percent for those 55 to 64. Forty-four percent of black men with no high school diploma were idle year-round versus 26 percent of high school graduates and only 13 percent of those with a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Labor market participation rates are a better indicator than the much more widely publicised unemployment rates. Imagine a quarter of all the adult males you know sitting around and doing no legal job for a full year. What effects do you suppose this has on these people, their behavior, and their communities?
The full report (PDF format) is available for download.
Andrew Sum is also lead author on another new report, "Foreign Immigration and the Labor Force of the U.S." (along with co-authors Ishwar Khatiwada and Sheila Palma) which takes a look at the trend of a growing immigrant labor force in the face of declining net native-born employment in some sectors of the economy.
The number of new immigrants who joined the labor force between 2000 and the first four months of 2004 was between 2.260 and 2.35 million representing 60 to 62 percent of labor force growth.
Between 2000 and April 2004, the total number of new foreign-born workers who were employed was 2.1 million. During that same period, employment of native-born workers and established foreign immigrants declined by 1.3 million, due to higher unemployment and reduced labor force participation.
...Nearly 320,000 new immigrants garnered employment in the nation’s manufacturing industries at a time when total wage and salary employment in these industries nationwide declined by more than 2.7 million jobs.
This report makes a mockery of the argument that foreign laborers are needed to do work that noone else will do. The labor market participation rates of natives are declining as immigrants come in willing to take jobs at lower salaries.
It is not too hard to connect the dots to understand what is going on here. What advantage could possibly be gained for the nation as a whole by letting in a large number of low-skilled workers to drive down the wages and drive out of the labor market our existing native-born low-skilled workers?
Also see my previous post Non-Citizens And Illegals Getting Over A Quarter Of New Jobs.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 July 27 02:02 PM Immigration Economics|