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Are Jobs Available for Disadvantaged Workers in Urban Areas?

  • H. J. Holzer
  • S. Danziger

We use data from surveys of employers and households in four metropolitan areas to predict the degree of job availability for various types of disadvantaged workers, such as minorities, high school dropouts, and welfare recipients. We conduct simulations in which we “match” workers to jobs on the basis of skill, spatial, and racial characteristics of each. Our results show that roughly 9 to 17 percent of actual or potential jobseekers are likely to have difficulty finding work, even in tight labor markets. Simulated mismatch rates for disadvantaged workers are considerably higher. We conclude that disadvantaged workers face quite limited job availability, at least in the short run. The wages and benefits for jobs available to these workers are also quite low.

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Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1157-98.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1157-98
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  1. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
  3. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  4. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
  5. Harry J. Holzer & Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 1996. "Spatial factors and the employment of blacks at the firm level," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 65-86.
  6. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1994. "Minimum Wage Effects and Low-Wage Labor Markets: A Disequilibrium Approach," NBER Working Papers 4617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
  8. H. J. Holzer, . "Why do small establishments hire fewer blacks than large ones," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1119-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  9. H. W. Hoynes, . "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1104-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  10. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Reservation Wages and Their Labor Market Effects for Black and White Male Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 157-177.
  11. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1978. "The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  13. Harry J. Holzer, 1994. "Black employment problems: New evidence, old questions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 699-722.
  14. Abraham, Katharine G, 1983. "Structural-Frictional vs. Deficient Demand Unemployment: Some New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 708-24, September.
  15. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  16. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 235-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
  18. Richard B. Freeman, 1990. "Employment and Earnings of Disadvantaged Young Men in a Labor Shortage Economy," NBER Working Papers 3444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Carl Davidson, 1990. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Involuntary Unemployment," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number rdtiu, December.
  20. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
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