For many men, getting and holding a job is the most important factor in supporting his family. A tedious task over the past few years since many Black men find themselves struggling to survive in a shaky American economy.
From January 2005 through December 2007, 3.6 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The number of displaced workers was about the same as the level (3.8 million) recorded in the previous survey that covered the period from January 2003 to December 2005.
Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished. The period covered in this study was 2005-07, the 3 calendar years prior to the January 2008 survey date.
Even jobs once thought to be protected or secure have become subject to restructuring, layoffs and termination -- a trend that has caused many men to work additional jobs to make ends meet.
More disturbing for young Black men finishing college with 2-year and 4-year degrees, is the growing trend of jobs being farmed out to Mexico and Asian countries like India and China. If there are jobs available after graduation -- the possibility of those becoming career-long jobs has started to fade.
About 45 percent of long-tenured displaced workers cited plant or company closings or moves as the reason for their displacement. When these situations occur, they are often unexpected and come as a shock to workers.
When employees do receive prior notice, tenure and seniority have less effect these days. Forty-three percent of displaced workers who had worked for their employer for 3 or more years had received written advance notification that their jobs would be terminated.
Additionally -- the study showed that nearly 1 in 4 long-tenured displaced workers lost a job in manufacturing -- a large portion of the blue-collar workforce where many African-American men are employed.
Different age groups of African-American men are also affected when attempting to get back into the workforce. As men get older, it becomes increasingly more difficult to re-enter the workforce -- especially after a layoff.
According the survey, re-employment rates for workers ages 20 to 24 and 25 to 54 were 68 and 73 percent, respectively. Re-employment rates for older workers--ages 55 to 64 and 65 years and over--were 61 and 18 percent, respectively. Among those age 65 years and over, 69 percent were no longer in the labor force when surveyed.
The re-employment rates for long-tenured displaced whites (68 percent) and Asians (67 percent) were little changed from the rates recorded in the January 2006 survey. However -- the rate for blacks (59 percent) declined.