Thursday, December 15, 2011

Public Sector Layoffs and Unemployment: The Case of Black Women

This is a useful article on public sector layoffs and their disproportionate impact not only on all women but especially on black women. And note that when jobs are outsourced in this way it is pretty likely that the employee who will then work that job will have lower pay and might not have health insurance or retirement benefits at all.

From the piece:
Women, meanwhile, have suffered a disproportionate majority--nearly 66 percent--of the public sector job losses. For black women--who have higher overall levels of unemployment and rely on public sector jobs as their second-biggest source of employment--outsourcing is particularly harmful, according to Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at University of California, Berkeley.
From 2008 through 2010, a black woman was 22 percent more likely to be employed in the public sector than a non-black woman, Pitts found in an April 2011 research brief on black workers and the public sector.
Pitts says questions of race and gender haven't factored into the national dialogue of public sector cuts and who they are most likely to affect.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on unemployment by gender, race/ethnicity, age and marital status. Following the numbers over time can be instructive. I don't think the public sector layoffs are yet completely visible in those numbers.