Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled

10/01/1997

This risk factor tracks trends in the percentage of men and women with 12 years of schooling or less who are engaged in paid employment. These trends illustrate a key risk of dependence.

Figure WORK 2. Percent of All Men and Women Age 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who are Employed

Figure WORK2. Percent of All Men and Women Age 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who are Employed

  • In 1994, 57 percent of black men with a maximum of twelve years of schooling were working compared to 75 and 74 percent, respectively, of similarly educated white and Hispanic men.
  • The percentage of low-skilled men who were employed dropped drastically from the early 1970s to early 1980s for all racial groups, although most dramatically for black men. From 1970 to 1983 the percentage of low-skilled black men who were employed dropped 23 percentage points; for white men during the same period the percentage dropped 16 points. The percentage for Hispanic men fell 9 percentage points in the three years between 1980 and 1983.
  • Since 1983, the percentage of low-skilled white men working increased three percentage points while the percentage for black men increased one percentage point.
  • Conversely, the percentages of low-skilled female workers have increased since 1970. For white women, the percentage increased 13 points up to 57 percent; the percentage for black women increased 5 percent up to 54 percent in 1994.
  • In all years, smaller percentages of low-skilled Hispanic women worked compared to other groups.

Table WORK 2. Percent of All Men and Women Age 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who are Employed

  White Men Black Men Hispanic Men White Women Black Women Hispanic Women
1970 88 81 NA 44 49 NA
1980 79 65 81 50 46 42
1983 72 56 72 49 43 39
1993 75 57 73 57 53 45
1994 75 57 74 57 54 44

Note: These data have been weighted to create an average for all men and women with no more than a high school diploma using population numbers from U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20. The population weights were calculated for 1970, 1980, and 1990 and the other weights were calculated using linear extrapolation.

Source: Blank, R., It Takes a Nation,1997.