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Brown, Hon. Clarence J.:
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1979
Written opening statement.......
Statement entitled "Hispanic Employment Opportunities in the 1980's," from SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., Washington, D.C_----
Grede, John F.:
Response to additional written questions posed by Representatives
Response to additional written questions posed by Representatives
Rueda, Frank H.:
MINORITY EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: 1980-85
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1979
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 340, Cannon House Office Building, Hons. Parren J. Mitchell and Clarence J. Brown (members of the committee) copresiding.
Present: Representatives Mitchell and Brown, and Senator Javits. Also present: David W. Allen and M. Catherine Miller, professional staff members; Carol A. Corcoran and Mark R. Policinski, minority professional staff members; Katie MacArthur, press assistant; and Mark Borchelt, administrative assistant.
OPENING STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE MITCHELL, COPRESIDING
Representative MITCHELL. Good morning. This hearing will come to order. This is the first of a set of two hearings that will focus on the issue of minority employment opportunities.
Historically, blacks, Hispanics, and other racial minorities have experienced substantially higher rates of unemployment than do whites. This socioeconomic disparity is not only a failure of our economic system to meet the potential production function due to a waste of labor resources; it also is an economic deficiency that targets its inefficiency to the economic sector that is least able to absorb its effect. The black and Hispanic neighborhoods of America have been the result of a labor market discrimination that has caused losses in income, losses in skill development, and a pervasive deterioration of pride and self-esteem.
The data are available that show the gap between the unemployment rates of blacks, Hispanics, and other racial minorities to the unemployment rate of whites to remain sizable during both good and bad economic times. Black unemployment seems to be the barometer of the economy. Because black workers are the first fired and last hired, the number of people on the streets of inner-city Baltimore is an excellent leading and lagging indicator of the economy.
We have heard testimony from witnesses who indicate that the economy is in the midst of a recession. Let me state at this point that the black and Hispanic communities which experience twice the national rate of unemployment, whose median income is less than 63 percent that of the white community and whose official teenage unemployment rate has not been below 30 percent for a decade is in a depressionary trend. It is also worthy to note that it is not enough to merely create jobs in order to have an effect on black and Hispanic unemployment.
Closing the gap depends on the number and proportion of newly created jobs filled by racial minorities. At least 17 percent of the new jobs would have to be filled by racial minorities in order to prevent a widening of the gap in unemployment.
How do we, the Congress, address the problem of employing blacks. Hispanic, and other minorities in the 1980's? With the trend that depicts the reduction of the blue-collar sector to the growth of the whitecollar sector, are the marginally employed black and Hispanic workers destined for a larger share of structural unemployment in the future? What mechanisms do we use to prevent the widening of the racial unemployment gap in the 1980's?
The outlook for the employment of racial minorities is not an issue of politics. It is an issue of economics and one shared by the cochairman of the hearings, Representative Brown of Ohio.
I want to publicly express my thanks to him for his continued concern about this issue, and for taking the time to address this issue. And I would now ask him if he would at this time like to make an opening statement.
OPENING STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE BROWN, COPRESIDING
Representative BROWN. Congressman Mitchell, thank you very much. My interest has been not only personal but also as a result of your leadership in this area of concern. Both of us feel strongly on this issue and hope that these hearings will be productive and give productive, positive results in connection therewith.
Today, as this series of hearings on minority employment opportunities opens, it is important that we realize that there could not be a more significant time for the hearings. It is an appropriate time, a very critical time, because the economy has just entered a recession and because we are going to see the statistics change to reflect that recession and change for the worse.
Traditionally, in recession minorities are harder hit by unemployment than other groups are. In addition, as a recovery begins, minority employment lags behind other employment. Consequently, the time horizon of these hearings, 1980 to 1985, will most probably be dominated by economic conditions that lead to the situation where minorities are, as Congressman Mitchell said, the first fired and the last hired. As this committee studies the problem of minority job prospects it will be confronted with several truths that will show the severity of the problem.
The truth of the matter is that minority employment opportunities are not equal to those of whites. No matter how much progress we may have thought we made with reference to legal opportunities for minorities, the truth of the matter is that a productive permanent job, for too many minority citizens, is just as far away as it was 15 years ago, at the outset of the Great Society programs and those that were part of the civil rights movement.
The truth of the matter is that programs aimed at bettering the job prospects of all Americans have had mixed results, at best. The truth of the matter is that this country has spent $85 billion over the past 15 years on manpower programs and yet the unemployment rate is high
for the total labor force, sky-high for minorities, and shamefully high for minority teenagers.
The truth of the matter is that it could get worse for minorities who are still looking for satisfying employment.
What this country must do to improve minority employment prospects is to have a total national effort to stimulate economic growth and therefore the numbers of jobs in the economy.
I will be very anxious to hear from the panel on how minorities fare relative to whites during periods of recession, low economic growth and high economic growth. But of course, economic growth alone will not quickly nor sufficiently address the problems of the structurally unemployed.
For these forgotten people we need targeted programs in addition to that economic growth, targeted programs that emphasize small business and intermediate organization participation that will link up those needing the job with those who have the jobs to offer. These programs should be a blend of both public and private sector initiatives.
Congressman Mitchell, I know that you join me in welcoming this very distinguished panel which contains some of the best people and best minds in the area of labor economics. We are honored to have these witnesses, and look forward to their comments. Hopefully, our work here today will begin the process by which the Nation and Congress will focus on the problems that face our minority workers, particularly as we enter this critical time phase in the economic cycle.
Representative MITCHELL. Thank you very much, Congressman Brown, we are indeed honored to have a truly distinguished group of panelists. We are delighted to welcome Bernard E. Anderson from the Rockefeller Foundation, Arvil Adams of the George Washington University education policy program, Isabel Sawhill, Director of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and Gilbert Cardenas, a regional economist with the Southwest Border Regional Commission. Department of Commerce. Thank all of you for coming.
Unless there is some very strenuous objection, I would like to just designate the first witness. Congressman Brown, it might be good to hear from two of the witnesses, get into the questioning of those two, and then hear from the last two.
Is that satisfactory with you?
Representative BROWN. Either that, or they could all present their testimony in sequence, if you would like.
Representative MITCHELL. Fine. Let's take that latter option.
Mr. Anderson, if you will lead off, then Mr. Adams, Ms. Sawhill, and then Mr. Cardenas.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD E. ANDERSON, DIRECTOR, SOCIAL SCIENCES, THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION, NEW YORK, N.Y.
Mr. ANDERSON. Thank you very much, Congressman. And let me express my great appreciation to you for the invitation to come and join with you this morning in this set of hearings on the opportunities for minorities, looking ahead over the next several years.
Let me apologize to you in advance for not having a prepared statement. When I was contacted to appear here, unfortunately I was out