"Women, Minorities Lead Growth"
                Copyright 1993 News World Communications, Inc.
                              The Washington Times

                    January 29, 1993, Friday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 737 words

HEADLINE:  Women, minorities lead growth  in nation's work
force in 1980s



     America's work force underwent profound occupational and
demographic shifts  during the 1980s, according to data in a
Census Bureau report released today.

    The number of oil well drillers, for example, was cut in
half, while the ranks of lawyers grew about 50 percent.

    Jobs in technical fields grew four times as fast in the
1980s as the overall population, while traditional occupations,
such as agriculture, precision production and repair work,
stagnated, the figures show.

    Also during the decade, the number of workers in the
civilian labor force increased 18 percent, while the population
grew 10 percent.

    Women and minorities led the growth in the labor force.
The number of women in the work force increased 27 percent; the
growth rate for men was 12 percent.

The number of black workers increased 23 percent.  The ranks of
Asians and Pacific Islanders rose 106 percent, and the number
of Hispanics grew 67 percent. The number of whites in the work
force rose 12 percent.

    Several economists said the report reinforces what has long
been known about the evolving U.S.  labor force.

    "It's becoming quite difficult for someone with a low-level
skill to make a  living," said Ruy Teixeira of the Agriculture
Department's Economic Research Service.

    The Census Bureau sifted employment data for 501 job
categories and grouped  them in six broad categories.

    While much of the job growth came in technical and
managerial areas, a significant portion of the service-sector
growth came in low-paying, low-status  jobs, said Audrey
Freedman, a New York economist and management consultant.

    The executive, administrative and sales areas also were
high-growth occupations - such as cashiers, data-entry keyers
and legislators - each growing by 41 percent.

    Professional specialty occupations, from aerospace
engineers to teachers to  professional athletes, grew 36

    The number of women entering what were once male-dominated,
white-collar positions, such as executive, administrative and
managerial jobs, increased 95 percent during the decade.

    Overall, women's share of the civilian work force grew to
45 percent from 43 percent in the 1980s.

    Blacks are the only group in which women outnumber men in
the work force.

    Janet L.  Norwood of the Urban Institute, a former U.S.
commissioner of labor statistics, attributed that finding to an
undercount of black men, especially in cities.

    But Ms.  Freedman attributed the higher number of black
women in the work force - 6.7 million, compared with 6.1
million black men - to the "very big burden on black women of
supporting children."

    Overall, women dominated administrative-support jobs by
more than 3-to-1, while men dominated in precision production,
craft, repair, farming, forestry and fishing.

    While the demographic makeup of the work force is changing,
"the rate of change isn't as fast as people sometimes think it
is," said Mr.  Teixeira, who said the work force will still be
predominantly white and male in the year 2000.

    But the data underscore "the erosion of the demand for
semiskilled workers and increasing demand for relatively
skilled workers," said Elmore Alexander, the chairman of
American University's management department, who agrees with
Labor Secretary Robert Reich that worker training should be a

    Ms.  Freedman, however, said the current recovery, with
continued high unemployment, demonstrates that the economy is
not suffering from a lack of qualified workers.

    "I don't think that it's intelligent to train people as if
there were a job  waiting for them at the end of their
training," she said, suggesting that employer demand should
govern specific skill training.

    The largest labor category for women in 1990 was technical,
sales and administrative support, where 43 percent of working
women held jobs.  The largest grouping for men, with 24
percent, was managerial and professional specialty work.

    For all ethnic groups, more women held technical, sales and
administrative support jobs than worked in any other category.

    Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut men were
most frequently  operators, fabricators and laborers, while
white, Asian and Pacific Islander men were most commonly in
managerial and professional specialty occupations.

GRAPHIC: Illustration (color)/Chart (color), Illustration) NO
CAPTION; Chart Caption) JOB GROWTH IN THE 1980s