The Divide Deepens

January 17, 2011

Proposed 10% Cut to Federal Workforce Will Deepen the Racial Divide in the U.S.

Late last week, the Washington Post ran a story about a bill introduced by Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) to cut the federal work force by 10 percent in the next decade. Three days later, UFE released our new State of the Dream report which documents, among other things, the disproportionate impact that federal employee cutbacks will have of Black families.

It’s important to remember that public sector workers perform very important functions in our society that benefit Americans of all races. Public sector workers are the ones who inspect our food supply, police our streets, and educate our children.  As a result, attacks on the public sector and its workers hurts all Americans regardless of race by eroding the ability of our nation to meet the needs of its citizens.

At the same time, the proposed cuts to the federal work force will disproportionately hit Black workers who are more likely to be employed in public sector jobs. In fact, Blacks are 30 percent more likely to work a public sector job than the general work force, and 70 percent more likely to work for the federal government in particular.

Public Sector Jobs Chart

For Blacks, the attack on the public sector workforce is a one-two punch. In addition to the eroding ability of our nation to meet the needs of its citizens, Black workers will shoulder the brunt of the layoffs at a time that the Black unemployment rate is 15.8 percent.

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