Friday, December 26, 2014

The Employment Gap

How has President Obama done for his core constituency? How have African-Americans fared in the Obama recovery?

Writing in the New York Times, Patricia Cohen has grim news:

Among recent [college] graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Strangely, the employment gap was far smaller in 2007, in the Bush years:

While there has always been a gap between black and white college grads, this 7.5 percentage point difference was far greater than before the recession burned through the economy. In 2007, for example, there was only a 1.4 percentage point difference, with 4.6 percent of recent black graduates out of work compared with 3.2 percent of similarly educated whites.

“This is very different from the past,” said Mr. Schmitt, a co-author of a study of employment among recent graduates published by the center. “You’d have to go back to the early 1980s recession to see that pattern.”

Historically, the periods during and immediately after downturns have been harder on blacks than on whites. But in this current cycle, the trend has been even more extreme.

If this has been caused, as Cohen suggests, by persistent racial discrimination, why is there so much more prejudice now? Why was there less prejudice during the Bush years?

Also, when you dig into the statistics and look at the black college grads who are employed, you discover that many of them have jobs that do not require a college degree:

So with his part-time low-wage job at Barnes & Noble, Mr. Zonicle can now count himself among the 56 percent of recent black college graduates who are considered to be “underemployed” or working in jobs that don’t require a degree. That figure was up from about 45 percent before the recession, according to the report by the economic and policy research center.

Even degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — so-called STEM fields where the demand is high — have not immunized recent black graduates against job search difficulty. From 2010 to 2012, the average unemployment rate among young black engineers was 10 percent, the center reported, while the underemployment rate was 32 percent.

Of course, we do not know anything about these students’ records.

Still, it seems strange that blacks should be suffering the most economically during the age of Obama. If you want to blame it on racism, you will need to explain why the gap was smaller during the Bush administration.

Wherever the truth lies, the Obama administration has mobilized to shift the blame? You don't think it's going to take responsibility for its own recovery, do you?

By now it is impossible to blame it on George W. Bush, so the administration has found another way to evade responsibility.

In the new narrative, the problem lies in the injustices that white police officers have been inflicting on American blacks.

Get it?


Dennis said...

If one wants to truly help people succeed in life one has to be tough on them. Anything less is cheating them of the chance to be the best they can be.
Far too many people in academe and on the Left suffer from the bigotry of lowered expectations for minorities and women. I include women here mainly because of the desire to have the military lower the requirements to get more women into certain fields. This is not going to save their lives or the lives of others when the time comes to meet the enemy face to face.
This only prepares them for failure because they are inevitably going to "hit the wall" in the future and a strong foundation will help them get past it.
Academe and the Left have done a lot of damage to every graduate that leaves its hallowed walls lacking the capability to deal with ideas and concepts that they were considered too fragile to meet head on.
Does one suppose that those who would hire graduates may know that many were given grades not reflective of actual work? For that matter I would posit that some of those who got those grades self limit their hopes and dreams of success. I have seen it a number of time while I was working.
The person who actually cares for people is the one who is willing to treat students, et al in a tough manner when required and ensure they are treated in equally. Expecting less is nothing short of bigotry. Until we are willing to reform the education system, teachers unions and the current Institutions of Lowered Expectations we are going to keep cheating everyone because we as a nation are only as strong as out weakest link.
It may seem that I spend a lot of time excoriating academe, but they are a significant contributor to the problems we face today.

Ares Olympus said...

I don't think the employement data is up-to-date (looks like 11% for Oct 2014), but it certainly is a wide gap as black unemployment skyrocked much more than whites from 2007-2009, while both have been going down steadily since, blacks lost more ground.

In any case, I think wealth disparity is the scarier numbers. While unemployment has slowly fallen, the stock market has skyrocketed, but only for those who were not forced to cash out their 401ks during their layoffs (I know number of whites who did this on their layoffs, paying tax penalties to boot.)

So the federal government has been deficit spending $500-$1200 billion/year, and the federal reserve adding another trillion per year on QE, buying up bad loans from billionaires who reinvested their hot money in a hot market for easy doublings.

So if Obama wants to feel some shame, it should be that all this stimulus has creates $1 of new job for every $10 of easy money for billionaires betting on a market that only goes up.

So the real crap is that black household wealth has gone into the toilet on their imaginary wealth of appreciated houses at 0% down mortgages that immediately went under water. And the 2000-2006 buying spree convinced people to get a bigger mortgage than they could afford because if they waited, they'd never buy a house. So all the nonsense is still unravelling, white or black.

Meanwhile its possible that the stock market bull may have run out of steam, and so everyone who had money to invest can pull it out and smile, while everyone who needs to keep their money in their 401ks and pensions can expect tiny returns for the next decade or longer, as babyboomers try to sell their assets and investments in a buyers market.

So I don't know who to feel sorry for, but I'll pick the Millenials if I must, but I think at this point zero debt is the only sure bet anyone should aspire to, so at least its just the old Smaugs in their stock hoards who need to worry about losing their nest eggs before the young start their revolution and finish the market crashes.

Oh, and lastly, its hard to judge the unemployment numbers since they are more about who is looking for work, but the real numbers are "labor force participation rate" which has been in steady decline for decades, and we've got less and less employed people who will need to support more and more boomers living longer and longer under their golden hoards, getting their hard earned SS and pension benefits that the young will never see.

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n.n said...

Bias is intrinsic. Prejudice is acquired. The class (e.g. race) wars sponsor development of prejudice. Because of this prejudice, blacks fare better in productive times. Because of dysfunctional communities and families, blacks are less capable of weathering a chaotic life. It helps to have monetary assets, but it helps equally or more to have associates, friends, and family. As well as a work ethic that sustains development.