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Race and Ethnicity in the Labor Market; Changes, Restructuring, and Resistance 2000–2014

  • Roberta Spalter-Roth
Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

The labor market is described as a set of queuing practices in which employers rank workers in terms of their views of who is likely to be productive, who they can pay the least, who will not complain about working conditions, and who is likely to fit in. Workers rank jobs in terms of wages, benefits, autonomy, and workplace conditions, as well as who they know. These queues are neither gender neutral nor color blind, despite laws that prohibit deliberate discrimination. The data in this chapter reveal a stratified queue with substantial differences in unemployment rates, occupational participation, and earnings in 2000 among racial, ethnic, and gender groups. By 2014, more workers fell back in the queue as employers used race-, ethnicity-, and gender-based strategies to restructure the workforce to increase profits and control. Not surprisingly, in a capitalist economy, worker strategies had substantially less impact, especially because of lack of unity among race, ethnic and immigrant groups. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how we can expect the queue to change in the next decade.

Keywords

Labor market Work force Wages Job queue 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This first version of this chapter is based upon the working papers of 45 social scientists produced for a conference held by the American Sociological Association on “Race, Racism, and Race Relations: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?” supported by generous grants from the Ford Foundation and the W.G. Kellogg Foundation. The authors have rewritten this chapter, using a broader time period, and the views presented in this chapter are solely the authors.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Social Science Research, George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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