Thursday, December 15, 2016

Eduardo Porter epic fail

Usually I find Eduardo Porter's columns in the NY Times interesting and thoughtful. But this one is sadly misleading, as Kevin Drum and others have been quick to point out. Here's Porter's main point:
There are almost nine million more jobs than there were at the previous peak in November 2007, just before the economy tumbled into recession. But the gains have not been evenly distributed. 
Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.
The problem is that this disparity largely disappears when one accounts for differential population growth across these groups. Hispanics have experienced a lot of the job growth because they account for a lot of the population growth. Employment and unemployment rates, taking account of the denominator as well as the numerator, show rather little difference in the experience by ethnic group, as Drum shows.

A disaffected white male might still argue that his job prospects would be that much better today had he not had to compete with an expanded nonwhite workforce. We can debate that point, but not using Porter's statistics or argument, which is unexpectedly below his standard.

No comments:

Post a Comment