Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2009-2013. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled

04/01/2013

Figure WORK 2. Percentage of Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed at Any Time during Year by Race and Ethnicity: 1968-2009

Note: All data include both full and partial year employment for the given calendar year. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately. Hispanic origin was not available until 1975.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969-2009.

  • Figure WORK 2 shows the employment rate of low-skilled workers ages 18 to 65 (those with a high school education or less) by gender and race and ethnicity between 1968 and 2009. This measure of low skill is based only on educational attainment and does not take into account other skills based on work experience, training or other credentials.5
  • In 1968, 65.8 percent of Non-Hispanic Black women, 55.8 percent of Non-Hispanic White women, and 49.7 percent of Hispanic women of any race with a high school education or less were employed. In the 1970s, however, Non-Hispanic White women reached parity with their Non-Hispanic Black counterparts and then surpassed them.
  • Employment rates for women with a high school education or less increased during the 1980s and 1990s. By the 2000s, however, the employment rate for women with no more than a high school education started to decline. In 2009, the rate was 63.4 percent for Non-Hispanic White women, 57.1 percent for Non-Hispanic Black women, and 55.6 percent for Hispanic women of any race.
  • In 1968, 92.8 percent of Non-Hispanic White men, 89.9 percent of Non-Hispanic Black men, and 86.2 percent of Hispanic men of any race with a high school education or less were employed.
  • Beginning in the 1970s, the employment rates for men with a high school education or less declined and the employment rates among men with a high school education or less began to diverge. In 2009 76.7 percent of Non-Hispanic White men as compared to 60.0 percent of Non-Hispanic Black men and 80.1 percent of Hispanic men of any race with a high school education or less were employed. Over the time period, Hispanic men with a high school education or less have had employment rates similar to Non-Hispanic White men.

Table WORK 2. Percentage of Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed by Race and Ethnicity: 1968-2009

  Women Men
Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Hispanic
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black
Hispanic
1968 55.8 65.8 NA 92.8 89.9 NA
1969 56.1 64.9 NA 92.1 89.2 NA
1971 55.2 59.4 NA 90.9 86.1 NA
1972 55.6 58.1 NA 91.1 84.3 NA
1975 58.3 57.2 49.7 88.2 78.8 86.2
1977 61.4 57.6 52.2 88.3 78.1 89.2
1979 62.9 58.9 55.0 88.5 78.7 89.4
1980 64.1 57.6 53.7 88.0 75.2 86.8
1981 64.0 57.5 53.0 87.4 74.5 87.6
1982 62.7 56.6 51.1 85.6 71.1 85.3
1983 63.5 55.3 51.7 84.8 70.2 85.2
1984 65.0 58.9 54.0 86.5 71.9 83.9
1985 66.0 59.4 52.9 86.1 74.6 83.9
1986 66.8 61.0 54.0 86.4 74.3 86.5
1987 67.3 59.9 54.0 86.7 73.9 85.6
1988 68.0 61.4 54.6 86.3 74.0 87.8
1989 68.8 61.1 55.8 87.7 75.3 86.6
1990 68.5 60.7 55.0 87.7 75.6 85.4
1991 68.3 61.0 54.6 86.4 73.9 85.0
1992 67.8 57.8 53.3 85.7 71.5 83.7
1993 68.6 60.0 52.2 84.6 71.2 83.5
1994 69.0 60.9 53.3 85.0 69.1 83.2
1995 69.6 60.1 53.9 85.9 70.1 83.3
1996 70.2 64.1 55.4 85.9 70.3 84.0
1997 69.9 66.6 56.9 85.3 72.0 85.0
1998 70.4 67.1 57.1 85.3 71.8 85.5
1999 71.4 68.4 58.8 84.5 72.0 86.4
2000 70.6 67.7 61.0 84.7 72.7 86.4
2001 69.8 64.8 59.2 83.4 69.9 85.5
2002 69.5 64.4 57.5 82.5 67.3 85.1
2003 66.9 65.2 56.9 81.1 65.7 84.6
2004 66.3 62.9 56.1 80.8 66.7 84.9
2005 66.3 63.3 56.1 80.7 66.3 85.6
2006 66.5 63.2 56.8 80.6 65.6 86.4
2007 66.1 62.4 56.0 80.3 65.8 85.6
2008 65.6 61.3 57.2 79.0 64.5 83.6
2009 63.4 57.1 55.6 76.7 60.0 80.1

Note: All data include both full and partial year employment for the given calendar year. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately. Hispanic origin was not available until 1975.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969-2009.


5 This education–based measure of low skill is from the work of Rebecca Blank in “It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty,” 1998.

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