Introduction: This report examines the difference in occupational changes across racial and ethnic groups in New York City as well as across Latino origin groups from 1990 to 2006.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates. All figures pertain to individuals 16 years of age or older.
Results: While there has been an overall increase in employment gains in the management sector, which includes business and finance, non-Hispanic whites experienced the most significant gains. In 1990, 38.4% of non-Hispanic whites held jobs in management and professional specialty occupations, increasing to 43.7% in 2000 and 47.4% in 2006. Latinos were employed at much lower rates in this sector, though gains were also made: in 1990 13.8% of Latinos were employed in management and professional positions; in 2000 the percentage of Latinos employed in this sector rose to 15.5% and in 2006 to 16.4%. Latinos were more likely than any other group to be employed in the service sector, while relatively fewer numbers of whites held service-sector jobs. In 1990, 22.6% of working Latinos were employed within the service sector and this increased to 32.6% in 2006. While all groups experienced relative growth service-sector jobs, in 2006 blacks and Latinos were more likely than other groups to hold jobs in the service sector.
Discussion: These data show that not all groups benefited equally from the economic expansion that occurred in New York City after 1990. Across the major racial and ethnic groups, whites were more likely to be employed within sectors that are associated with higher socio-economic indicators such as the management and professional sector. The loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector and the gain in the service sector affected black and Latinos more than other groups. Many service industry jobs such as food preparation and serving offer low wages, poor working conditions and little job security. Stakeholders and advocacy groups may wish to consider focusing their efforts on assisting Latinos better penetrate the management and professional sectors.
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