Full text of Minority Women Workers : A Statistical Overview
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BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY men 6 902 1 Workers: kDiaiiVifcbi Overview Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration Women's Bureau U.S. 1977 (Revised) L /ff uA Material contained in this publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission of Source credit is requested but not the Federal Government. required. Permission is required only to reproduce copyrighted photos and other copyrighted material contained herein. Minority A Women Statistical U.S. Department Ray Workers: Overview Marshall, Secretary ot Labor Employment Standards Administration Donald Elisburg. Assistant Secretary for Employment Standards Women's Bureau Alexis M. Herman, Director 1977 (Revised) CONTENTS Page Labor Force Participation 1 Unemployment Status 2 Reasons for Unemployment 3 Unemployment During the Recession 5 Occupations 6 Marital Status 7 Women Heads of Families 8 Working Mothers 9 Children of Working Mothers 10 Education 11 Employment Status of High School Dropouts 11 Earnings 12 Conclusion 14 The 1974-76 period proved to be a particularly difficult time for many workers --minority and white alike. Unemployment rose throughout 1974, and the 1975 jobless rates, on an annual average basis, were the highest since data became available by race in 1948. Although overall unemployment fell somewhat in 1976, unemployment rates were higher than at any time in the post-World War II era. In 1976 women had an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, compared with 7.0 percent for men. The rate for all minority workers was 13.1 percent, substantially higher than the 7.0 percent for whites. Minority women, then, experiencing both sex and race discrimination, face a The jobless rate of these double disadvantage in their job search. women in 1976 was 13.6 percent. Despite the higher unemployment rates of minority women workers, other disadvantages which these women have faced (although still severe) First, the have been alleviated to some extent, particularly since 1960. occupational distribution of minority women has become more favorable as women have moved into more skilled and professional jobs from the more menial service- type occupations. Second, this occupational shift has been a significant factor in raising the median wage or salary income of minority women; it rose from $2,372 in 1960 to $6,611 in 1974 for those working full time throughout the year. This was an increase of 179 perThe income of white women showed a less cent over the 14-year period. spectacular increase of 106 percent--from $3,410 to $7,025. Labor Force Participation The labor force participation rate of minority women has remained steady in recent years, while the rate of white women, although still below that of minorities, has risen considerably. In 1976 there were 5.0 million minority women 16 years of age and over in the civilian labor force. Minority women accounted for 12 percent of all women in the population and for 13 percent of all women workers. Among all minority women, about 50 percent were workers, as compared with 47 percent of the white women (table 1). The labor force participation rate of minority women was highest among those 25 to 34 years of age; the rate of white women was highest in the 20- to 24-year-age group. The proportion of minority women in the labor force exceeded that of white women in all age groups 25 years and over. The difference was greatest among women 25 to 34 years of age, where 65 percent of minority women were workers compared with 56 percent of white women. The situation was reversed, however, among women 16 to 24 years of age. Note Minority races are comprised of all races other than white, including Negro, American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Hawaiian, Eskimo, Aleut, and all other nonwhite races. Negroes constitute 89 percent of persons of minority races. Persons of Spanish origin are included in the white population. : Table 1. — Percentage of Persons in the Civilian Labor Force, by Age, Sex, and Race, 1976 Age Total, 16 years and over 16 Women White Minority 50.2 46.9 Men Minority 70.7 White 78.4 Table 2. --Unemployment Rates, by Race, Age, and Sex, 1975 and 1976 Men Women 1976 Age Minority Total, 16 years and over 16 to 19 years 20 years and over Total, 16 years and over 16 to 19 years 20 years and over 13.6 1975 1976 1975 The percentage of unemployment accounted for by reentrants to the labor force was more than twice as large among adult women as among adult men in both racial groups. Women made up almost half of the unemployed who were reentrants in 1976. Several factors account for this: (1) most reentrants are women who return to the work force after a period of absence devoted to childrearing, (2) divorce and separation also force many women to reenter the labor market, (3) the continued expansion of the service-producing industries --many offering part-time employment-has led to more jobs for women, and (4) many women have been encouraged to return to the labor force because of the increasing opportunities that have resulted from the breaking down of discriminatory barriers. Table 3. --Percentage Distribution of Unemployed Persons, by Sex, Age, Race, and Reason for Unemployment, 1976 Total Number Sex, age, and race . Unemployment During the Recession To measure the disproportionate burden of unemployment experienced by minority women, it is helpful to present the rise in unemployment of both groups in relative terms rather than to simply compare the jobless rates of both minority and white workers. The "incremental ratio" is such a measure, as it takes the absolute change in unemployment rates and expresses this change in relative terms. 1/ Over the course of the recent recession, 2/ 11 minority adult women entered the unemployment stream for every 10 white adult women (table 4). Similarly, 18 minority Table 4.--Peak-to-Trough Change in Unemployment Rates, by Race, Sex, and Age, November 1973 to May 1975 Peak Nov. 1973 Trough May 1975 Over-theperiod change Minority women, 20 years and over White women, 20 years and over Incremental ratio 8.1 4.3 11.9 7.9 3.8 3.6 1.1 Minority women, 20 years and over Minority men, 20 years and over Incremental ratio 8.1 5.5 11.9 11.8 3.8 6.3 Race, sex, and age Minority women, 16 to 19 years White women, 16 to 19 years Incremental ratio .6 37.9 17.0 31.4 13.4 6.5 3.6 1.8 The cycle turning points Data are seasonally adjusted. Note: are those defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Three-month averages were computed to smooth inherent sampling variability (particularly among relatively small sample size groups) from the Current Population Survey and to mitigate somewhat the discrepancy which may occur between the NBER cycle turning points and the turning points in unemployment. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished data. See Curtis L. Gilroy, "Black and White Unemployment: The Dynamics 1/ of the Differential," Monthly Labor Review February 1974, pp. 38-47, for a more elaborate description of this measure. , For the purpose of this analysis, November 1973 and May 1975 (the 2/ low and high points in overall unemployment) have been chosen as the peak and trough months of the recessionary period. teenage women became unemployed for every 10 white teenage women. Among adult women and men of minority races, however, the situation was reversed. Although the absolute unemployment rates of minority women were higher than those of minority men, 6 minority adult women became unemployed for every 10 minority adult men in the period. This occurred because the percentage increase in the unemployment rate for minority men exceeded that for minority women. Occupations Minority women workers were more heavily concentrated in service occupations (including private household) than were white women 35 and In contrast, a larger 19 percent, respectively, in 1976 (table 5). proportion of white women were in professional, technical, or managerial occupations as well as clerical jobs than were minority women--58 percent compared with 43 percent. — Significant changes have occurred in the occupational distribution of women since 1960. Among minority women, the changes have been more dynamic. Between 1960 and 1976 the proportion of minority women who were professional and technical workers rose from 7 percent to over 14 percent; the proportion who were clerical workers increased from 9 to 26 percent. On the other hand, the percentage of private household workers dropped sharply- -from 35 to 9 percent. Table 5. --Major Occupation Groups of Employed Women, by Race, 1960 and 1976 1/ Major occupation group 1976 1960 Minority Number (in thousands) Percent Professional and technical workers Nonfarm managers and administrators Clerical workers Sales workers Operatives (including transport) Service workers (except private household) Private household workers Other occupations Data are for women 16 years of age and over in 1976 but 14 years 1/ and over in 1960. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment and Earnings, January 1977 and January 1961. Marital Status Forty- five percent of the minority women workers in March 1976 were married and living with their husbands (table 6). Twenty-eight percent were widowed, divorced, or separated from their husbands, and the remaining 27 percent were single. In contrast, among white women workers nearly three- fifths (59 percent) were married and living with their husbands, 24 percent were single, and 18 percent were widowed, divorced, or separated. Minority women with husbands present were more likely to be in the labor force than were single minority women or those who were widowed, divorced, or separated. Among white women, those with husbands present were less likely to be in the labor force than were single women, but somewhat more likely than those who were widowed, divorced, or separated. Table 6. --Marital Status of Women in the Labor Force, by Race, March 1976 Women Heads of Families In March 1976 there were 2.1 million families headed by women of minority races. They accounted for 28 percent of the 7.5 million families headed by women. Women headed 34 percent of all minority families; by contrast, only 11 percent of all white families had a female head. Minority families headed by women were almost twice as likely to have incomes below the low- income or poverty level as similar white families 49 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in 1975 (table 7). Among families headed by women who worked full time the year round, the incidence of poverty was almost four times greater for minority families than for white families-- 15 and 4 percent, respectively. — Table 7. --Work Experience in 1975 of Women Heads of Families With Incomes Below the Low- Income Level, by Race For those families headed by women who had no work experience during 71 percent of minority families and 40 percent of white families had incomes below the low- income level. the year, Working Mothers Minority mothers, like their white counterparts, have sharply increased their labor force participation in recent years. The greatest increase for both minority and white mothers has been among women with In fact, the participation rate of these children under 6 years of age. minority mothers exceeds the rate for all minority women workers. Although the participation rates for minority mothers have always been considerably higher than those for white mothers, their increase in the last 5 years has not been so marked as that of their white counterparts. Minority mothers in the labor force in March 1976 totaled 2.2 million, Sixty- two percent of minority women or 15 percent of all working mothers. with children 6 to 17 years of age were workers, as were more than half The comparable (53 percent) of those with children under 6 (table 8). figures for white women were 55 and 38 percent, respectively. Table 8. --Percentage of Mothers in the Labor Force, by Race, Age of Children, and Marital Status of Mother, March 1976 Among minority mothers, labor force participation rates were similar for those who were married with husbands present and those who were On the other hand, the labor force widowed, divorced, or separated. participation rate of white mothers with husbands present was significantly lower than that of white mothers who were widowed, divorced, or separated. Children of Working Mothers In March 1976, 28.2 million children under age 18 had working mothers (table 9). About 4.8 million (17 percent) of these children were of minority races. More than 1 out of 4 minority children (more than 1 out of 5 white children) was under 6 years of age. Approximately 1.7 million minority children and 3.6 million white children had working mothers who were family heads. But the proportion of minority children whose working mothers were family heads was more than twice as high as that of white children- -36 and 15 percent, respectively. Table 9. --Number of Own Children of Working Mothers, by Race, Type of Family, and Age of Children, March 1976 (Numbers in thousands) Education Most minority women workers are high school graduates. In March 1976, 65 percent had graduated from high school, including 12 percent who had completed 4 or more years of college. The comparable figures for white women were 76 and 14 percent, respectively. The median 12.4 years of schooling for minority women workers in 1976 reflected an increase of more than 1 year from the median in 1966, bringing the median educational attainment to above the high school graduate level. Both women and men of minority races are narrowing the education gap between themselves and their white counterparts. The following table shows the median years of schooling completed by minority and white women and men in 1976 and 1966: March March 1976 1966 Women Minority White 12.4 12.6 11.2 12.4 Men Minority White 12.2 12.6 10.0 12.3 Data are for persons 16 years of age Note: and over in 1976 but 18 years and over in 1966. Data are from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Special Labor Force Reports Nos. 80 and 193. Employment Status of High School Dropouts High school dropouts are seriously disadvantaged in the labor market. In October 1976 there were 196,000 minority women workers 16 to 24 years Their unemployof age who had left school before completing high school. ment rate was 44.9 percent (table 10). In contrast, among the nearly 949,000 white women of this age group who had dropped out of school, the unemployment rate was much lower--27.0 percent. The jobless rate among minority women in this age group who had graduated from high school was somewhat lower- -22. 7 percent—but was still excessively high. The rate for white women graduates was 11.7 percent. 11 Table 10. --Employment Status of High School Graduates Never Enrolled in College and Dropouts, by Sex and Race, October 1976 (Persons 16 to 24 years of age) Graduates enrolled in Labor force participation rate Race never college Unemployment rate Dropouts Labor force participaUnemploytion rate ment rate Women Total 71.0 63.6 72.1 Minority White 13.0 22.7 11.7 44.8 38.0 46.7 30.0 44.9 27.0 85.7 73.6 88.6 21.7 31.5 19.7 Men Total Minority White Source: 94.3 84.8 95.5 U.S. 11.3 22.8 10.0 Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished data. Earnings Although the median wage or salary income of minority women increased by nearly 15 percent between 1973 and 1974, this advantage was seriously undercut by the 12-percent rate of inflation between those years. Median income of white women increased 7 percent during the same period. The median wage or salary income of minority women, like that of white women, is substantially less than the income of men, either minority or white. In addition, fully employed minority women continue to earn less In than white women, although the earnings gap has narrowed appreciably. 1974 women of minority races who worked the year round at full-time jobs had a median wage or salary income of $6, 611- -94 percent of that of white women, 73 percent of that of minority men, and 54 percent of that of white men. In 1960 the corresponding proportions were 70, 63, and 42 percent. 12 Median Wage or Salary Income in 1974, by Race and Sex Conclusion As the Nation continues its recovery from the 1973-75 recession, the unemployment rate for minority adult women is still excessively high--11.4 The rate for percent, seasonally adjusted, in the fourth quarter of 1976. teenage unemployment rate, white adult women was 7.1 percent. The minority after climbing to an all-time high of 39.3 percent in the second quarter of 1976, settled back to 35.8 percent by year's end. By contrast, the jobless rate for white teenagers was 17.0 percent. In terms of employment during 1976, minority adult women experienced greater proportional increases than their white counterparts. By the fourth quarter of 1976, 4,140,000 minority adult women held jobs, 5.5 percent more than were working a year earlier; white adult women's employment stood at 27,950,000 by the end of 1976, a gain of 4.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 1975. - 14 U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration Women's Bureau Postage and Fees Paid U.S. Department of Labor Washington, D.C. 20210 Official Business Penalty for private use. $300 Third Class Mail Lab-441