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The Great Recession’s Impact on African American Public Sector Employment

January 2012

William M. Rodgers III, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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This study estimates the impact that the recession had on African Americans employed in the public sector. Micro data from the Displaced Worker Survey indicate that even after controlling for personal characteristics and local economic conditions, the difference in the probability of displacement between African American and white public sector respondents increased from zero to a recession gap of 2.8 percentage points, now equaling the private sector gap. The finding suggests that the formal rules that govern public sector layoff decisions ceased to generate race neutral displacement.

Discrimination, Employment, Unemployment, and the Labor Market, Race and Ethnicity