NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Unemployment Among Less Educated Falls

April 6, 1998

In most areas of the country, companies are finding the pool of potential workers in painfully short supply. So they are resorting to a variety of innovative tactics to attract new employees -- including advertising on television, listing jobs on the Internet, paying bonuses to current employees who recruit their friends and associates, and contacting church groups, bowling leagues and immigrant groups.

Nationally, the March unemployment rate stood at 4.7 percent.

Such low unemployment is beginning to reduce joblessness among those without high school diplomas and for black and Hispanic people.

  • Unemployment among blacks ages 16 to 19 dropped from 32.1 percent in March 1997 to 29.1 percent this March -- while it declined from 16.5 percent to 15 percent for all races in this age group.
  • As of this March, unemployment among black men age 20 or older stood at 7.8 percent versus 8.2 percent for black women -- representing a decline of about 1 percent for both groups during the previous 12 months.
  • Over that period, the unemployment rate among Hispanic men and women over 16 fell from 8.3 percent to 6.9 percent.
  • Some 7.2 percent of workers without a high school education were unemployed in March versus 4.2 percent for those with only a high school diploma.

Companies are recruiting workers in regions where unemployment is still relatively high.

As of February, Alaska had the highest unemployment rate of any state at 7.8 percent -- followed by West Virginia, 7.5 percent; New Mexico, 6.8 percent; California and New York, 6.6 percent each; Idaho and Montana, 6.5 percent each; Oregon, 6.2 percent; and Louisiana, 6.0 percent.

In order to attract workers to two aircraft facilities in Oklahoma, the Boeing Co. is considering subsidizing vacations -- skiing in Colorado, sailing off Seattle or attending the theater in New York.

Source: Louis Uchitelle, "Employers Hustle to Fill Jobs, Without Pay Raises," New York Times, April 6, 1998.


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