Downsized South - Reality Check

MYTH: The growth of Southern jobs means more economic security for Southern workers.

REALITY: All groups of workers face a changed workplace in which traditionally higher-paid and more secure work makes up a declining portion of available jobs. In fact, it is many of the South's lowest-paid jobs that now are expanding most quickly.

MYTH: The past 20 years have remedied job segregation.

REALITY: Despite important advances made during the 1960s and 1970s, people of color and women remain concentrated in many of the lowest-paid, lowest-status categories of work. Moreover, the entry of Southern women into a wide range of white-collar jobs may not be the solid gain it appears to be, since it has been accompanied by dramatic losses for women in semi-skilled operative positions, one of the better-compensated categories of blue-collar work.

MYTH: White men's recent job losses have been to minorities.

REALITY: Despite claims of reverse discrimination, white men are not losing jobs to people of color. White workers have suffered from the loss of jobs in the best occupations, along with other groups. However, EEOC data indicate that white men have held on to sought-after skilled positions in the diminished blue-collar sector and shrinking official/managerial positions more than other groups. As better jobs have disappeared, minority workers -- who as a group have traditionally worked in less desirable jobs than their white counterparts -- have been pushed further into less secure occupations.

MYTH: Job loss in the 1990s is a uniquely black-and-white issue.

REALITY: In the South's highly segregated workplace, a negative sort of equity has occurred in one crucial area: job displacement. Workers of color have historically been displaced at greater rates than whites. But as the burden of job layoffs has shifted to include white-collar jobs in the 1990s, white workers -- who work disproportionately in white-collar jobs -- for the first time have as a group been displaced at rates comparable to blacks and Latinos. Individual black and Latino workers, however, still face a greater risk for job loss than individual white workers and continue to have more difficulty finding new jobs.

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© Copyright by POINT, 1997
Last modified 12/20/97