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For Release
November 18, 1966
7:00 P.M., EST


Remarks by

Andrew F. Brimmer
Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System

at the

The National Urban League Equal Opportunity Day Dinner
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York, N. Y.

November 18, 1966

The Quests for Economic Stability
and Equal Employment opportunity
I am delighted to have been invited to share in this yearfs renewal
of our basic dedication to the campaign for equal opportunity in America.
Over the last decade, the National Urban League through this annual event
(which brings together so many of the leaders of commerce, industry, finance,
organized labor and public affairs in the Nation) has provided a symbolic
recognition of the progress we are making.

It has also provided a constructive

forum in which to consider the demands of the unfinished tasks ahead.
However, as I explore the prospects for equal employment opportunity
over the period immediately ahead, my delight with the chance to participate
is dampened considerably.

Sadly -- but honestly —

I have concluded that the

outlook for further, substantial progress in the effort to broaden and deepen
job opportunities for minority groups is less promising than it was even as
recently as a year ago. The reasons for this more cautious view can be expressed
During the last few years, the campaign for equal opportunity
was sustained and strengthened by a rapidly growing economy.
In such a buoyant environment, nonwhites filled a sizable
share of the newly created jobs in private industry, and retraining and upgrading of existing employees occurred on a
wide scale.
Now, however, the critical need is to moderate the pace of
economic expansion in order to counter inflationary pressures.
With such a moderation, the over-all demand for labor would be
less strong. While the scope for innovation in the search for
equal opportunity would certainly still exist, it may be
narrowed appreciably.
Yet, having expressed some uncertainty about thp short-run future of
the movement for equal employment opportunity, let me hasten to say that I do
not consider such an outcome inevitable.

On the contrary, I believe that


despite the necessity to pursue an anti-inflationary policy for the good of the
country as a whole — x*e can also fashion programs and marshall the resources
required to continue our forward strides in the quest for equal opportunity.
I am confident that -- in both the private and public sectors —

all of us are

fully committed to this mission and will make the effort needed to continue
the momentum built up in the recent past.
Moreover, I also want to make it clear that, in stressing the need
to orchestrate policies aimed at economic stability with policies directed at
human resource development, I do not question the desirability of a vigorous
counter-attack on inflation. Such an effort has been needed this year, and
from the evidence currently in hand —


it x^ill be needed in the year ahe^d.

Rather, I do wish to emphasize that the pursuit of a policy of economic
restraint —

a pursuit clearly in the national interest -- simultaneously

requires an extra effort to ensure that the burden of restraint does not fall
unduly on those elements in the labor force least able to bear it.

We should

be especially sensitive to the hopes and expectations of young people seeking
jobs for the first time; to the hopes and fears of blue collar workers whose
job security traditionally has been far too tenuous; to the hopes of the lessskilled for a chance to improve themselves; to the hopes and faith of nonwhites
and other minority groups that the goal of equality of opportunity can be made
a reality in a growing and prosperous economy.
To be successful in the exercise of restraint x/ith sensitivity, we
must give careful attention to the probable impact of a reduced rate of economic
growth on particular industries.

This is necessary because of the dispro-

portionate representation of nonwhites, blue collar and low-skilled workers in

industries with a high degree of susceptibility to variations in aggregate

Furthermore, this pattern of concentration implies that —

given the

level of over-all restraint required in the national interest -- the combination
of policy instruments (e.g., monetary, fiscal and manpower policies) relied on
in the pursuit of stability makes a great difference as far as equality of
opportunity is concerned.

Just how much of a difference is clearly illustrated

by the experience this year when monetary policy has borne a large share(and
perhaps too large a share) of the task of economic stabilization: while the
effects of monetary restraint have probably been more wide-spread and deep-rooted
than is currently evident because of the time lag in the statistics, there is
no doubt that the impact on housing and the construction industry has been

Because construction and related industries have a heavy

concentration of low-skilled and nonwhite workers, these groups have also felt
early and sharply the shift from a policy of economic stimulus to one of

Thus, unless we are willing to aggrevate imbalances such as these,

I think it is essential that we remain highly conscious of the ways in which
different policy prescriptions to counter inflation affect particular segements
of the population.
In the rest of these remarks, I will appraise more fully:
The contribution which an expanding economy has made in the
campaign for equal opportunity.
The dimensions of the unfinished tasks before us.
The dilemma of economic restraint and the quest for equal
opportunity, with particular attention to the possible short-run
consequences of a rate of growth in the neighborhood of 4 per cent.
Finally, I wish to examine a somewhat paradoxical feature of the
employment of nonwhites which may be of special interest to the leaders of

commerce and industry: a disproportionate share of the middle class job
opportunities open to nonwhites has been provided by the public sector as
opposed to private enterprise. In a free enterprise economy, this situation
should be a source of embarrassment to all of us.

The Evidence of Widening Opportunity
The last several years of economic expansion have been the best years
in our history for the American Negro.

The record increases in employment since

the current expansion began early in 1961 have provided employment opportunities
for virtually all segments of the working population, and the Negro worker has
shared at least proportionately in the over-all advance.

In fact, in the

aggregate, Negroes have shared better than average: fully one million additional
jobs were found by nonwhite workers between 1961 and 1966.

This was one-seventh

of the total rise in employment, although nonx*hites constitute about 11 per cent
of the labor force.
These employment gains have been reflected in a number of important
The unemployment rate for nonwhite workers has dropped significantly
during this period, from 12 per cent in January, 1961, to 7.6 per cent in October
of this year.

For white workers, the comparable decline was from 6 per cent

to 3.4 per cent.

The unemployment rate for nonwhite adult men declined to

nearly 4 per cent this year, the lowest level since these data first became
available in 1954.

This rate was close to 8 per cent in 1964 and nearly 12

per cent in 1961.
Not only has the current prosperity resulted in important gains in
employment for nonwhite workers, but a significant upgrading of occupations has

also occurred.

A larger proportion of nonwhite workas is now working in

professional and technical jobs (6.7 per cent in 1966 as compared with 4.7
per cent in 1960) and in skilled and semi-skilled jobs (30 per cent now as
compared with 26 per cent in 1960).

The proportion of nonwhite women working

in clerical and similar "white collar11 jobs has also risen sharply(from 9.3
per cent to 13.2 per cent), and there has been a noticeable drop in the
proportion doing household service work (from 35.1 per cent to 28.2 per cent).
Among nonwhite men, there has also been a decline in the proportion of workers
doing unskilled labor on farms and in nonfarm activities.
In addition to the improved employment situation for nonwhites,
significant progress is also shown in the sizable rise in personal income.
According to the Bureau of the Census, the median income for nonwhite families
amounted to $3,971 in 1965, the latest year for which such data are available.
This was an improvement of 23 per cent since 1960, about the same as the rate
of increase for white families.
Perhaps one of the most striking examples of widening economic
opportunity for nonwhites during the current prosperity is found in the escape
from poverty.

If we accept an annual income of $3,000 as a rough guide to

poverty status, the number of Negroes crossing that line is truly impressive.
In the last five years, the proportion of Negro families classified in the
poverty category declined from almost half to less than two-fifths. During
the same period, the proportion of poor white families dropped from just under
one-fifth to about one-seventh.

What is more striking, these improvements

occurred in the face of a sizable growth in the number of Negro and white

Over the five-year period, the total number of nonwhite families rose

by more than 10 per cent, and the number of white families expanded by less than
6 per cent.

The Contribution of Economic Growth
But if the point is made that the gains in employment and income, and
reduction in unemployment for nonwhites have in general been comparable to the
gains of the white population and labor force, it is particularly significant
to note that the overwhelming proportion of these gains has occurred only in
the last few years. As the over-all economic expansion accelerated during 1961
and 1962, white workers found increased employment opportunities at a rapid
pace, but it was only after a substantial lag that nonwhites had an opportunity
to share in the gains. In fact, significant improvement in their employment
situation was not noticeable until 1964 -- fully three years after the beginning
of this expansion.

Of course, this lag in the improvement of nonwhite employ-

ment is not a new phenomenon.
the years —

It is explained largely by the fact that over

and frequently even today -- nonwhites have been f,the last-hired-

first -fired. 11

The disadvantages of poor and inadequate education and lack of

training, compounded by discrimination, tend to make many.Negro x^orkers a
poor second choice for employers when jobs begin to open up.

So long as a

plentiful supply of better educated, better trained-- and white -- labor is
available, nonwhite employment gains have tended to be small.
the supply of other labor begins to be depleted that

It is only after

employers typically have

turned to hiring Negro workers in any large numbers.
But there is another reason for the recent surge of nonwhite employment growth —

a reason which has significant implications for our economy

in the near future.

For it has only been in the last few years that the rate

of growth of the national economy has been adequate to provide the broad
expansion of activity needed to generate significant numbers of net* employment
opportunities for Negro workers.

As I mentioned earlier, 1964 marked the first genuine participation
of nonwhites in the current prosperity.

This is by no means accidental,

because 1964 was also the year of the single most significant fiscal action
in recent economic history designed specifically to stimulate economic
activity -- the tax reduction of early 1964.

Reflecting this action as well

as the previous liberalization of the depreciation guidelines and the
introduction of the 7 per cent investment tax credit, the rate of national
economic growth (after allowing for price changes) advanced from an average of
about 4-3/4 per cent in the two years 1962 and 1963 to an average of 6 per cent
in the two years immediately following.

And it was this shift in gears in the

economy which has made a profound difference in the employment growth for almost
all sectors of our work force. From a level that was adequate only to meet
labor force increases and offset the disemployment impact of productivity -and thus to hold unemployment just stable —

the rate of growth climbed to a

level sufficient to generate hundreds of thousands of extra jobs each year -and to reduce unemployment significantly.
The impact of this higher rate of growth on Negroes, young workers
and unskilled workers was particularly impressive.

As unemployment declined

generally and the labor market tightened, these workers, for virtually the
first time in a decade, had an opportunity to improve their employment situation
Let me illustrate:

in 1963, despite two years of substantial economic

growth, the unemployment rate of nonwhite men was still 9.2 per cent;


unemployment rate for nonwhite women was 9.4 per cent; and the unemployment
rate for Negro youth had risen to 28 per cent.

Betx^een 1961 and 1963, the number

of employed nonwhite workers increased by 300,000; in the next two years, the
number of jobs gained by nonwhite workers jumped by over half a million


almost double the average increase of the previous two years. The years 1964
and 1965 saw the first increase of any significant amount in the employment of
nonwhite teenagers; the annual rate of increase in their employment averaged
an impressive V-z per cent betx/een 1963 and 1965; in the previous two years there
had been an actual decline in the number employed and some actual increase in
their unemployment.
Thus, it appears that an acceleration in the rate of growth itself
has made a significant contribution to providing employment opportunities for
what have been sometimes called the more marginal workers in the labor force -nonwhites^ teenagers, and the less skilled.

There are two major dimensions to

the impact of a higher rate of economic growth.

For if the pace of economic

activity is slow, not only are aggregate employment changes insufficient to
reduce total unemployment, but the areas of employment growth tend to be
concentrated in those industries and occupations which provide relatively few
job opportunities for nonwhites, young x^orkers and the unskilled.

It was not

until the extremely rapid economic expansion of late 1963, 1964 and 1965
provided the major gains in the manufacturing and construction industries and
the related blue collar occupations that employment opportunities x*ere opened
to nonxjhite workers in any large numbers.

The Unfinished Tasks Ahead
The foregoing evidence clearly suggests that most groups in the labor
force have shared substantially in the benefits of a growing economy. But
the over-all rate of unemployment —

be it 5 per cent, 4 per cent or 3 per cent

measures only one dimension of our total unemployment problem. Another

dimension -- in many ways much more significant than the aggregate --is
defined by the very substantial unemployment differentials among different
groups in the labor force. The 4 per cent unemployment goal that we have
achieved$ and sustained now for more than half a year, is an amalgam of
about 2 per cent unemployment for white adult males and about 3 per cent for
white women -- but about 5 per cent for nonwhite men,6% per cent for nonwhite
women, and over 25 per cent for nonwhite teenagers.
Obviously, 4 per cent unemployment is an unacceptable goal for the
long-run, if as it currently does* it implies a perpetuation of substantial
disparities in unemployment between white and nonwhite, skilled and unskilled,
young and inexperienced and more mature workers.

The expansion of the last

six years, even the outstandingly rapid growth of 1964 and 1965, has not
affected a significant reduction in these differentials.

Nonwhite workers still

have an aggregate unemployment rate double that of white workers - - a situation
that has prevailed for over a decade, The unemployment rate for nonwhite
workers moved from about 1.6 times that of white workers in 1947-49 to about
2.2 times as high in the 1955-57 period, and has remained in the range of
between 2.0 and 2.2 times as high ever since.

In fact, last month, in October

1966, the unemployment rate of nonwhite x^orkers at 7.6 per cent was still
2.2 times as high as the 3.4 per cent unemployment rate of white workers.


the experience of recent years clearly suggests that the return to lower rates
of unemployment in the country as a x^hole does not guarantee amelioration of
the special problems which make for high differentials between groups.
Nor has the aggregate prosperity of the Nation at large breached
the walls of the Negro ghettos.

During the summer of 1965, while I was still

Assistant Secretary of Commerce, President Johnson sent me to Los Angeles as a

member of his three-man Task Force to investigate the riots in Uatts and
adjacent areas of south Los Angeles.

As part of that assignment, I recommended

a special Census Bureau survey of the Uatts area and several other sections
of the city in which the population was predominately either Negro or MexicanAmerican.
The results of that census -- while now familiar —

are still

The survey uncovered a consistent pattern of high unemployment, low

incomes and a high percentage of broken families and substandard housing. About
one out of every ten male Negro workers was unemployed in south Los Angeles.
Despite the existence of national prosperity, between 1960 and 1965 the unemployment rate in the area was essentially unchanged.

For males it was 11

per cent in 1960 and 10 per cent in 1965. In contrast, the unemployment rate
for nonwhite males in the Nation as a whole declined from 12 per cent in 1960
to 6 per cent in 1965.

Moreover, the purchasing power of the typical nonwhite

family in south Los Angeles declined by over $400 over a period in which the
typical American family income was growing by 14 per cent.

Although we have

no similar data for other urban areas, the general experience of Uatts was
probably duplicated in other Negro ghettos. Thus, beneath the continuation of
general prosperity, the benefits have been unequal and unevenly shared.
It is clear that while reduction in the overall rate of unemployment
is a critical objective, it remains only one part of the job. It must be
matched with efforts to reduce the differentials in joblessness among the
various sectors of the population, especially those which reflect serious
disadvantages of inadequate or poor schooling, of lack of training and skills,
of poor health, or of discrimination.

The Dilemma of Economic Restraint and Equal Opportunity
But despite this agenda of unfinished and pressing business of
developing our human resources, we have now reached a critical juncture in the
management of aggregate demand.

During the last year -- in the face of an un-

fortunate conjecture of rising government expenditures to sustain the military
effort in Vietnam and a vigorous expansion of private demand at home (focused
particularly in business capital formation) —

the prime objective of economic

policy has been to curb the expansion of aggregate spending to ease inflationary
pressures. There is no need to repeat here the details of the policy shift from
stimulation to restraint. It will be recalled that, in the early days of last
December, monetary policy made an explicit turn toward tightness -- which
became more intensive as the new year unfolded -- especially through the summer
months. Fiscal policy also shifted gears -- although here the turn was considerably more modest. During the late Winter and Spring, modest tax increases were
made effective —

consisting primarily of a restoration of previous reductions

in excise taxes on automobiles and telephone service, the introduction of a
graduated withholding system for the personal income tax, and an acceleration of
corporate tax payments. Moreover, in the early Fall, the 7 per cent investment
tax credit was suspended temporarily.
But now the key question concerns the shape and content of the policy
required for the year ahead.

Let me say immediately that I do not wish to use

this forum to add my voice to the mounting debate over what national economic
policy should be for 1967.

Naturally, as a Member of the Federal Reserve Board,

I am making every effort to keep abreast of economic developments, and I
obviously have an interest in the formulation and execution of a policy possessing

an optimum combination of fiscal and monetary measures. However, official
machinery does exist for the evolution of such a policy -- machinery that
involves consultation and coordination among the key policy-making agencies in
the Administration (e.g., the Council of Economic Advisers, the Treasury
Department and the Bureau of the Budget).

Appropriately, the Federal Reserve

Board participates in this process at both the official and staff level.


over, this exchange of views is not confined to a few formally called and carefully planned interagency meetings.
dialogue, much of it informal.

Rather, there is a more or less continuous

Given these opportunities, I am confident that

our views will be carefully considered.

Thus, I do not feel personally the need

to provide publically a specific prescription for national economic policy in the
year ahead.
Instead, I would like to weigh the consequences for the equal opportunit
movement of a particular rate of economic growth which has already been suggested
as a reasonable target for 1967.

The Chairman of the Council of Economic

Advisers recently observed that it may be necessary to keep the rate of expansion
in real gross national product (GNP) to about 4 per cent next year, if the rise
in the price level is to be held to an acceptable limit. The CEA Chairman also
stated that a real growth rate of 4 per cent should be sufficient to prevent the
over-all unemployment rate from rising above the interim target of 4 per cent.
I do not wish to debate this proposition, although I am aware of the fact that
several assessments have already appeared which suggest that a 4 per cent
growth in real GNP may result in a level of total unemployment in the neighborhood of 4% per cent. Rather, for the purpose of the following analysis, I will
accept what might be called the interim


4 by 4" proposition -- 4 per cent real

grox7th consistent with 4 per cent unemployment.

What,then, does such a short-run target imply as to the probable effects
on nonwhites, blue collar workers and youth?

The Differential Impact of Changes in the Rate of Growth
An answer to this question is suggested in the results of a number of
studies of the relationship between changes in real GNP and employment. Several
years ago, Arthur Okun, now a member of CEA, undertook such an examination.
Among other results, he found that, for the economy as a whole, a 4 per cent
rate of growth x*as about the minimum required to absorb the increase in the labor
force and to compensate for disemployment associated with improvements in

From this minimum rate, each 1.0 per cent increase in real GNP

reduced unemployment by about 0.30 per cent.
While I was still Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce,
some of my associates and I undertook a study similar to Okun's —

but concen-

trating on the behavior of unemployment rates for nonwhites in response to
changes in real GNP during the years 1954-65.

We also found that a 1.0 per cent

growth in GNP would reduce aggregate unemployment by about 0.30 per cent. However, the total nonwhite unemployment rate is far more sensitive to changes in
GNP than is the total or white unemployment rate.

For a 1.0 per cent increase in

real GNP, the nonwhite unemployment rate decreases by roughly .47 per cent, or
about half again as fast as that for whites for whom the decline amounts to
0.26 per cent. For nonwhite men over 20 years old, the reduction was 0.56 per cent
compared with 0.28 per cent for white men in the same age group.

For nonwhite

adult women, the decline was 0.31 per cent and for x^hite women 0.21 per cent.
The teenage unemployment rate tends to be more sensitive than the unemployment
rate for adults —

for both white and nonwhite workers, the decrease being 0.61

per cent for nonwhite youths and 0.30 per cent for white youths.

Thus, for the economy as a whole, an average growth rate in the
neighborhood of 4 per cent in GNP appears to be the "break-even point11 -the point above which significant gains in aggregate employment, and reductions
in unemployment, are made —

and below which a deterioration in the over-all

employment situation tends to take place. But, given the present configuration
of factors shaping employment conditions of nonwhites -- a mixture of educational
disadvantage, low-skill development and discrimination -- the national breakeven point may mean not simply a slackening in the pace of improvement, but an
actual halt in further progress, and even some rise in unemployment


nonwhite workers.

The Short-run Outlook
Against this background, the contours of the difficulties ahead are
readily evident.

The nonwhite labor force is increasing at a rate substantially

faster than for whites —

in fact, about 25 per cent faster, and the rate of in-

crease of nonwhite males in the labor force is half again as fast as that of white

Thus, a higher rate of nonwhite employment growth is necessary merely to

match the higher rate of labor force growth. Secondly, as we have noted, nonwhite
men are heavily concentrated in the goods-producing industries and in blue collar

On the average, a rate of growth of 4 per cent in real output in the

postwar years has been associated x^ith an increase in employment of just under 1.0
per cent in goods-producing and related industries —
mining, construction and transportation.

such as manufacturing,

The increase in blue collar occupations

associated with a 4 per cent rise in output has been even less -- under 0.75
per cent. By comparison, the recent rate of labor force growth for nonwhite
workers has averaged about 1.5 per cent per year.

Thus, nonwhite workers who

would generally benefit substantially when these industries and occupations are
expanding at high rates tend to be adversely affected when the economy -- and
these industries —

is growing at a more modest rate.

The employment experience of the last nine or ten months illustrates
rather graphically the differential employment and unemployment impact of a slowdown to 4 per cent in the rate of growth of the economy. After rising sharply
throughout most of 1965 and into the first quarter of 1966, the rate of growth
of GNP has slowed down significantly in the last half year*

Taking the last

three quarters as a whole -- that is from the fourth quarter of 1965 through the
third quarter of 1966 —
per cent.

the annual growth rate of real GNP averaged about 4

During these months, the rate of growth in total employment dropped

from 3.1 per cent in 1965 to 2.2 per cent in the most recent period.

The impact

on employment growth of nonwhite workers x/as particularly dramatic: for nonwhite
adult men the rate of employment growth declined sharply, from 2.8 per cent in
1965 to 0.4 per cent in 1966.

For nonwhite women, the rate of employment growth

dropped from 4 per cent to 0.2 per cent. These differential changes were also
reflected in the distribution of employment gains by skill.

Blue collar workers

as a whole had increased by over 4 per cent in 1965; in 1966 their rate of employment increase dropped to Ih per cent. Skilled workers continued to expand in
1966 at virtually the same rate as the previous year, but the rate of growth for
semi-skilled workers dropped from 4 per cent to 1.7 per cent, and the number of
unskilled jobs, which had risen by 5.2 per cent in 1965, actually declined by
33> per cent in 1966.

As far as nonwhite men are concernedp some of the smaller expansion
in employment this year can be traced directly to the slower pace of construction

Historically, construction and related industries have been prime

sources of employment opportunities for Negro men. For example, during the first
nine months of this year, average employment of nonwhites in construction amounted
to 10 per cent of the total.

In construction-related manufacturing sectors, they

constituted 9 per cent of the employment in lumber and 12 per cent in stone, clay
and glass. Thus, with the persistent decline in construction activity, a considerable share of the adverse employment effects has been borne by nonwhites,


March and September of this year, the number of new jobs available in construction
has grown by only 200,000, compared with half a million in the same period a year
ago. Since the number of white men employed in construction jobs rose by 240,000,
there was a net decline of 40,000 in the number of jobs held by nonwhites. In fact,
the impact on nonwhites was even more severe, because in the March-SeptenJber
period of 1965, nonwhite employment had risen by 80,000 (representing 16 per cent
of the total gain).

Thus, the 1966 employment change for nonwhites was equivalent

to a short-fall of 120,000 jobs, compared with the employment during the first
nine months of 1965.
As might be expected, the impact of the general economic slowdown on
unemployment was virtually a mirror image of the change in the rate of employment
growth. Although there was some continued reduction in over-all unemployment
during the last three quarters, the improvement was very much less than during
the previous year. Moreover, no further improvement at all occurred in the
unemployment rate of the least skilled blue collar workers and teenagers.

And for nonwhites, the unemployment rate, which had declined to 7,0 per cent
in April, rose to 8.2 per cent in August and was still 7.6 per cent in October.

Thus, the experience this year has already provided a clear prelude to
what may lie ahead —

in the absence of an intensification of the drive to make

equal opportunity truly meaningful.

Policies to Combat Structural Unemployment
So, to what policies can we turn?

The answer, of course, is inherent

in the nature of the problems that we have been discussing.

The solutions lie

in t\\e kinds of programs urged by the National Urban League for decades.


the years, economists have come to call these structuralist programs -- programs
for improvement of basic education; for better vocational training; for retraining
the provision of counseling and guidance and family services; for the improvement
of the health of the disadvantaged.

And critically important, it means efforts

for breaking down the barriers of discrimination (in both labor unions and
business firms) that keep too many workers from reaching their employment
Most recently the Chairman of CEA, in stressing the need to moderate
the growth of aggregate demand, also emphasized strongly the necessity to move
ahead in the attack on structural unemployment.

I not only agree, but I think

the urgency may be even more pressing than he suggested.
The nature and magnitude of the employment problems defined as
structural can be documented from a review of our recent employment experience,
and so too can the efficacy of some of the solutions offered.

It has long been

recognized that unempitiytttetit rates

inversely related to the educational

attainment of the labor force; that is, the unemployment rate tends to decline
sharply with rising educational advancement.

Over the last several years, we

have had dramatic evidence of the fact that in a period of prosperity, with
rising education, nonwhite xzorkers can narrow substantially —

and in some cases

close -- the employment gap between themselves and white workers.
and 1965, for high school dropouts, there was no change

Between 1962

in the ratio of un-

employment of nonwhite to white workers, the ratio remaining slightly over 2:1.
But for high school graduates, the ratio dropped significantly from 2.7 times
as high in 1962 to 2.2 times as high in 1965. And for workers with at least one
year of college, the unemployment ratio dropped from 2.5 times as high in 1962
to equality in 1965.
Of course, a recognition of the need for these specific programs has
existed for some time in both the private and public sectors. For example, this
recognition was reflected ae early as 1962 in the passage of the Manpower Development and Training Act, designed to train and retrain unemployed workers;
in the additional assistance to occupational training provided in the Vocational
Training Act of 1963, and in the support for education provided in the Education
Acts of 1963 and 1965.

But these programs, as well as programs in health and

other fields xAich will reduce the disadvantages associated with structural unemployment, need to be expanded and strengthened substantially.

This effort

will certainly require the support of the vitally-placed cross section of the
public represented in the audience.

Middle Class Employment in the Public Sector
I turn now to my last subject in these remarks on the outlook for
further progress in the provision of equal opportunity.

As mentioned above,

nonwhites have found in the public sector a disproportionate share of the better
jobs they now hold.

The evidence to document this observation is shown in

abundance in the 1960 Census of Population.

Although a few of the details may

have changed since then, I am confident that the broad picture is most probably
the same.
For example, in 1960, public employment (consisting of jobs in Federal,
State and local government, and non-profit, welfare and religious organizations)
accounted for about 10.2 per cent of total employment.

The percentage of non-

whites so employed was essentially the same (9.9 per cent).

However, about

35 per cent of all the professional and technical workers were employed by
Federal, State, and local government agencies and non-profit organizations. In
contrast, about 57 per cent of the nonwhite professional and technical workers
were on public rather than private payrolls.

Of course, these over-all figures

were heavily weighted by the inclusion in the professional categories of both
white and Negro women who were employed as public school teachers.
But leaving aside those engaged in public education, the much heavier
dependence of the nonwhite middle class on public employment is still striking.
For instance, about 1 in 8 of all salaried managers worked for public institutions,
but the ratio was 1 in 5 for nonwhites.

About 17 per cent of the nonwhite engi-

neers in 1960 worked for government bodies compared with only 7 per cent for
white engineers. The picture was even more striking for accountants: one-third of
all the nonwhite accountants were on public payrolls compared with only 13 per
cent for white accountants.

Some 22 per cent of nonwhite chemists were employed

by public agencies, compared with only 15 per cent of the white chemists.
Clerical workers provide the most striking example of all.

In 1960,

39 per cent of all nonwhite itfomen employed as secretaries, stenographers, and

other types of clerical workers were on the public payroll-

Only 14 per cent

of the white women employed as clerical workers were on the public payroll.
Moreover, while nonwhite women represented less than 4 per cent of all of the
women with such jobs, they accounted for 10 per cent of those employed by public
and non-profit agencies.
The moral of this story should be clear and obvious:

so far the private

sector has afforded for nonwhites relatively few middle class employment

Instead, nonwhites for the most part have been hired predominately

in those jobs requiring little skills and providing few steps for advancement.
While the situation has undoubtedly changed somewhat since 1960 —

as more and

more employers adopt equal employment programs and broaden opportunities for
training and upgrading -- the basic profile still holds.

Thus, in 1965, there

were about 6.7 million Negroes over 1G years old holding jobs -- the vast
proportion of which were in the private sector.

Of the total, 2.2 million were

service x/orkers, and 1.5 million were operatives and similar employees possessing
relatively few skills.

Just under 1 million were laborers; another 333,000 were

farm workers, and about 420,000 were craftsmen, foremen, and similarly skilled
blue collar workers.

Given this heavy concentration, nonwhites (who make up

about 11 per cent of the total labor force) represented one-third of all the
service workers; one-fifth of operatives and 13 per cent of all the laborers
in the work force.
Since public employment cannot provide the long-run, meaningful job
opportunities for nonwhites —

any more than for \7hites -- the direction in

which we must look is also clear and obvious: we must look to the private

Concluding Remarks
However, at this point the challenge shifts back to the community at
large —

Negro as well as white, public as well as private.

at least during the last few years —

The sad truth is —

the opportunities for nonwhites to fill

meaningful jobs in the private sector have been expanding more rapidly than the
supply of candidates.
to exact its toll:

Here the legacy of segregation and discrimination continues

since few opportunities existed in the past, few nonwhite

youth have chosen to run the risk of preparing for careers beyond the shelter of
the traditional (frequently segregated) professions —
teaching, etc.

such as medicine, law,

Thus, the shortage, and thus the frequently heard lament about

the slow response to opportunities already provided by many corporations on an
equal basis.
The question of how to attack this task —
"job gap" in the higher occupations —
the Nation.

how to fill the nonwhite

is occupying some of the best minds in

In fact, it is the central theme of the Urban League's Skills

Banks and similar programs developed by other organizations.

In the meantime,

in every city throughout the land, thousands of businessmen (xjhite and Negro),
including virtually everyone in this audience are no longer simply talking about
the problem; they are working at it.

They are working with community and civil

rights leaders, with teachers and social workers, with government officials and
trade union leaders —

and with many other builders who are reshaping and

reconstructing the fabric of American society.
Even if I tried, I could add little to your tool kit or to the blueprints which guide you.

But it should be obvious to all of us that a necessary

element undergirding and sustaining the entire effort is the cooperative spirit
between whites and nonwhites (and not

the strident appeals of racists and

separatists) -- among government, industry, labor and private organizations




evidenced in this audience. I am honored that, at least in a small
, I am privileged to play even a small role in this great enterprise.