Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled

10/01/1998

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 Persons Ages 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who were Employed, 1969 to 1998

Figure WORK 2. Percent of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who were Employed, 1969 to 1998

Source: Table WORK 2.


  • The percentage of low-skilled men who were employed dropped significantly between 1969 and 1984, with the largest decline among black men. During this time period, the percentage of high school-educated black men who were employed dropped 20 percentage points, from 90 percent to 70 percent; for low-skilled white men, employment rates dropped 8 percentage points over this time period, from 93 percent to 85 percent.
  • Since 1984, employment levels for high school-educated white men and Hispanic men have leveled off, hovering close to 85 percent. Employment levels for low-skilled black men have fluctuated over the past fifteen years, rising as high as 76 percent in 1991, and falling as low as 69 percent in 1995.
  • In 1998, only 72 percent of black men with no more than a high school education were working compared to 85 percent of similarly educated white and Hispanic men.
  • The employment rates for low-skilled women have steadily increased since the early 1970s. Since 1973, employment levels for white and black women have improved by about 20 percentage points. The improvement for Hispanic women, however, has been much less pronounced.

Table WORK 2. Percentage of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More Than a High School Education Who Were Employed, 1969 to 1998

  Men Women
Year White Black Hispanic White Black Hispanic

Note: White and Black includes Hispanic for all years. Hispanic was not available until 1975.

Source: ASPE tabulations of March Current Population Surveys.

1969 92.8 89.9 NA 55.8 65.8 NA
1970 92.1 89.2 NA 56.1 64.9 NA
1972 90.9 86.1 NA 55.2 59.4 NA
1973 84.1 76.8 NA 45.6 47.4 NA
1976 88.2 78.8 86.2 58.3 57.2 49.7
1978 88.3 78.6 89.8 59.8 57.4 51.4
1980 88.6 78.5 89.4 62.3 58.7 55.0
1981 88.0 75.3 87.4 62.3 57.4 53.0
1982 87.3 74.4 87.9 62.3 57.7 52.1
1983 85.4 71.3 85.4 60.7 56.2 50.6
1984 84.8 69.9 84.6 61.4 55.3 50.8
1985 86.1 71.6 83.9 62.9 58.4 53.1
1986 85.7 74.5 84.1 63.7 59.4 52.4
1987 86.3 74.2 86.7 64.4 60.3 53.0
1988 86.6 73.9 85.6 65.8 59.9 54.0
1989 86.5 74.1 87.8 66.4 61.3 54.6
1990 86.6 74.0 86.2 67.2 60.9 55.8
1991 87.4 75.6 85.4 66.8 60.4 55.0
1992 86.2 73.9 85.0 66.5 60.7 54.6
1993 85.5 71.4 83.7 65.9 57.8 53.3
1994 84.4 71.1 83.5 66.1 59.9 52.2
1995 84.7 69.3 83.2 66.6 60.7 53.3
1996 85.5 70.2 83.3 67.0 59.7 53.9
1997 85.6 70.0 84.0 67.7 63.6 55.4
1998 85.3 71.8 85.0 67.7 66.1 56.9

 

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