Reporting and technical writing. Tuesday - Sep 21, 2021

Who Does What in New York

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are roughly 132 million Americans working today, but it’s more informative to learn what types of work they do, what their levels of experience are, which industries dominate given regions, gender differences, etc.

These figures focus specifically on black men and black women in the New York City metro area who are employed in private industry.

Differences by Industry

While high black male unemployment and incarceration detract from the labor pool, working black men still manage to outnumber black women in a majority of New York City’s industries (12 out of 20) despite being ridiculously outnumbered by women in the healthcare industry.

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However, women outnumber men in most job roles except the more physical ones (see Craftspeople, Operatives and Laborers). As the US and the world shift from industrial economies to information economies, demand for men’s traditional brawny jobs keeps diminishing while the increasing demand for sales and service roles opens doors for women. This helps explain the imbalance.

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Click to Drilldown by Job Roles

In a few cases, even in industries where women outnumber men, the glass ceiling is still real. For instance, in Finance, which is a huge industry in New York City, there are more black men in Senior Officer and Manger roles than black women, while most black women in that industry are Office Workers and Clericals.

Click bars to view and compare job roles

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Click bars to view and compare job roles

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collects much more granular demographic data than the BLS does, such as race, gender, and job roles — all the way down to the city level broken out by industries in both the private and public sectors. That’s a lot of detail and we need that degree of specificity to know what’s really happening out there with real people.

So after feeling a little misled by BLS numbers which indicate that black women in the labor force outnumber black men at the full blown national level (while men outnumber women in all other racial groups), I felt the need to do a better breakdown to see why and where. And sure enough, I’ve discovered that for my own region, the New York City metro area, it’s all due to a highly disproportionate number of black women working in healthcare fields, which totally skews the aggregate.

As Americans strive to get back to work, many realize that industries shift along with ‘in-demand’ skills. So the full EEOC dataset indicates which industries matter most in your city.


Data source: EEOC Employment Statistics

Note: 2009 is the most recent year the EEOC has available for public sector employment so I chose 2009 private sector employment data in order to compare apples to apples. But the public sector data only boils down to the state level, not city, and the public sector is significantly smaller than the private sector.