Sunday, June 17, 2012

Number of Employed Whites Drops Dramatically During Recession

Five million less whites are in the workforce

I was working on a longer term project on data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is the only source for private employment data by race. The idea is to measure how under-represented blacks and Hispanics are in different fields. If you are going to measure a difference then you need a standard. So the benchmark I chose was the percentage of whites, blacks and Hispanics employed in the general economy. For example: in May 2012 approximately 75% of the workforce was white, 14% were Hispanic and 11% of workers were black. So we would think that 75% of managers are white, 14% Hispanic and 11% are black.

While building the standard, I realized that during the recession, white employment had dropped by close to 5 million workers from the beginning of the recession. The actual drop during the recession was 6.2 million workers but has since recovered to closer to 5 million. Definitely time for some quick charts.

This chart shows the total number of employed people during the recession. You can see about 5 million whites have left the workforce. Black and Hispanic employment is starting to rebound.

This is a chart of the percent composition by race of the work force since 2007. The end of year "bumps" is the chart come when the census bureau adjusts the population totals.

For some perspective, here are the longer term trends since 1980. While the work force has grown, the largest percentage of new employees comes from the black and Hispanic populations.

The chart below show the big historic drop in white workers.

Here is the long term percentage of work force compositions.

Note: Since Hispanics can be of any race they can be double counted in the black / white statistics. So we typically compute the total white + black + Hispanic employment (which is more than 100%) then divide each groups individual employment amount by the total employment which reduces or "normalizes" the totals.

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