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November, 1988, Vol. 111, No. 11
Employment gains by minorities, women
in large city government, 1976-83
Employment in the public sector has played an important role in the occupational mobility of blacks and, to a lesser extent, women in the United States. Historically, better educated blacks have found more job opportunities and higher pay in the public sector than in the private sector. This was first true for the Federal Government and more recently for State and local governments. More educated women also have preferred jobs and received higher pay in the public sector.1 However, although it is still important as a source of job opportunity, the public sector may now be less so. Using unique data provided by the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), this article analyzes the job gains minorities and omen have made in city government in recent years.
In the 1960's and 1970's, both supply and demand conditions favored the growth of minority and female representation in State and local government work forces. State and local governments generated a large fraction of all employment growth during this period. From 1965 to 1975, almost one-fourth of all net new jobs were in State and local governments.2 Since then, however, some of the conditions that made local governments a preferred source of job opportunity for minorities and women have changed. The work forces of local governments have grown very little since 1976, and local government activities have begun to shift from those that created many job opportunities for minorities and women. Still, other factors, such as increases in the share of city labor forces comprised by minorities and women, continue to favor more penetration of local governments by minorities and women.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1988 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 See Richard Freeman, Black Elite: The New Market for Highly Educated Black Americans (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1976), chapter 6; George Peterson, "Finance," in William Gorham and Nathan Glazer, eds., The Urban Predicament (Washington, The Urban Institute, 1976); Michael K. Brown and Stephen P. Erie, "Blacks and the Legacy of the Great Society," Public Policy 29, Summer 1981, pp. 299-330; and Rebecca Blank, "An Analysis of Workers' Choice Between Employment in the Public and Private Sectors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, January 1985, pp. 221-24.
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