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Black Employment Trends since the Great Recession

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  • Thomas Masterson

Abstract

The Great Recession had a devastating impact on labor force participation and employment. This impact was not unlike other recessions, except in size. The recovery, however, has been unusual not so much for its sluggishness but for the unusual pattern of recovery in employment by race. The black employment-population ratio has increased since bottoming out in 2010, while the white employment-population ratio has remained flat. This paper examines trends in labor force participation and employment by race, sex, and age and determines that the explanation is a combination of an aging white population and an increase in labor force participation among younger black people. It estimates the likelihood of labor force participation and employment among young men and women to control for confounding factors (such as changes in educational characteristics) and decomposes the gaps among groups and the changes over time in labor force participation using a Oaxaca-Blinder-like technique for nonlinear estimations. Findings indicate that much smaller negative impacts of characteristics and greater returns to characteristics among young black men and women than among young white men and women explain the observed trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Masterson, 2018. "Black Employment Trends since the Great Recession," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_915, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_915
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    File URL: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_915.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bradley Ewing & William Levernier & Farooq Malik, 2005. "Modeling Unemployment Rates by Race and Gender: A Nonlinear Time Series Approach," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 333-347, Summer.
    2. Donald Freeman, 2012. "On (Not) Closing the Gaps: The Evolution of National and Regional Unemployment Rates by Race and Ethnicity," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 267-284, June.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What’s the story behind who’s working? : Disaggregating EPOP by race and gender
      by ? in FRED blog on 2019-07-18 13:00:18

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial Disparities; Labor Force Participation; Employment; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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