The Role of Industry and Occupation in U.S. Unemployment Differentials by Gender, Race and Ethnicity: Recent Trends
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We examine how gender, racial, and ethnic variation in unemployment and Unemployment Insurance (UI) receipt changed over time in the U.S. economy and how these changes are influenced by shifts in the occupational and industrial composition of employment. Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data, we confirm that, in the past 50 years, the unemployment rates for women, nonwhites, and Hispanics have been converging to those of the rest of the population. By 1992, women had the same unemployment rates as men; whereas nonwhite and Hispanic rates remained above those for the full population. Yet, once we adjust for industry and occupation differences in employment, women have higher unemployment rates than men, while Hispanics have similar unemployment rates to non-Hispanics. Nonwhites still have appreciably higher unemployment rates than whites. For women, the patterns of UI receipt correspond with unemployment differentials. Nonwhites and Hispanics are less likely to receive UI benefits than their unemployment experience would imply. The analysis also considers how differences in volatility of unemployment are explained by industrial and occupational distributions.
Department of Economics, 2010
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