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The Family and the Workplace Only by recognizing the ongoing evolution of the family, changing opportunity structures in the economy, and evolving government policies in the United States can we consider what potential policies are appropriate to the situations of today and tomorrow. This chapter first examines the historic development of the family, then that of the workplace; it then con- siders changes that have occurred in the labor force by sex, level of educa- tion, and family status. As far as possible, we also examine the factors of race and ethnicity, but, for the most part, data are available only for blacks, whites, and, in recent years, Hispanics. (These are the terms currently used in official sources for racial and ethnic groups.) We review changes in the labor market in terms of the extent to which jobs are available, where and in what occupations and industries, earnings in various occupations, in- comes of different types of families, and future trends. CHANGING FAMILIES In all societies, those who work, in or out of the home, collectively produce the output that is then available to maintain them as well as those who do not work. Throughout history, at any given time, there has always been a range of family types, varying by personal circumstance as well as by race, ethnicity, and social class. In addition to this diversity at any given time, there have been changes in what people consider the "typical" family unit. Preindustrial Economies If we go back far enough, the basic economic unit was an extended family or a tribe (Fried!, 1975; O' Kelly, 19801. Subsequently, some of 18
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 1 19 what later came to be viewed as functions of the family was assumed by various other institutions, including the manor system, the church, and sla- very. Slave families and their owners together comprised an economic unit. Similarly, in the feudal manor, lords had a claim on part of the output of serfs and in turn had responsibilities to them (Heilbroner, 1972~. By colonial times in New England, extended families living separately but sup- porting one another both economically and socially were the rule. In this century as well, immigrant groups to the United States have often bonded together in extended family constellations (Hareven, 1982~. Perhaps the most self-sufficient family existed in peasant societies, in which family farms were the basic unit of ownership, production, consump- tion, and social life (Shamir, 19871. Extended families consisting of three generations or siblings and their families were frequent. In such house- holds, although husbands and wives often did different work, specialization was not sharply defined: men did much of the labor on the farm, in work- shops, and, occasionally, in a store; women also worked in the fields and shops, cared for gardens and small animals, and did the bulk of the house- work and instructed their daughters in these tasks. Husbands were seen as heads of households, and wives were partners rather than dependents. Women generally had the skills necessary to carry on in case of their husbands' illness or death, and history records many instances of widows operating farms and workshops (Handlin and Handlin, 1982J. They were also major participants in household industries (Brownlee and Brownlee, 1976~. Over- all, adults did the physically demanding chores, and the less exacting tasks were relegated to the elderly and to children. Everyone, except the very young and the disabled, participated in the necessary maintenance of the household to the extent they were able. Parents took care of dependent offspring and expected that their children, in turn, would take care of them when they became dependent (Dealer, 1980; O' Kelly, 1980~. The system worked, albeit imperfectly. There were great differences in the standard of living among families. The poor might be hungry, and they generally did not have sufficient resources to provide their children with adequate nutrition and health care, let alone education or an inheritance. In that way, poverty was often perpetuated for generations. Households unfor- tunate enough to have handicapped members were at a great disadvantage. The high degree of interdependence, however, tended to make families stable, and there were social pressures on all members to fulfill their re- sponsibilities. Marriages were seldom dissolved; the implicit contract be- tween generations was rarely broken (Dealer, 1980~. Industrial Economies The situation began to change substantially with industrialization and the rapid expansion of the market economy. Growing businesses were more
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20 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE and more dependent on hired labor, and workers became more and more dependent on wages. Industrial employment away from home became more prevalent than work in family enterprises, and purchased commodities in- creasingly replaced those that had been produced in the household. During this period of industrialization and urbanization the family arrangement of father as the provider and mother as the caretaker came into being-as a reality among the well-to-do and as an ideal to which the poor aspired. In what we now refer to as the traditional family, husbands were the sole wage earners, and they worked at a site distinct from their homes. Employ- ers could expect men's undivided allegiance to their jobs, because their full-time "housewives" took care of home and hearth. Although women produced goods and services in the household, combining their own time and purchased products, they came to be seen not as producers but as facili- tators of consumption. The basic standard of living was determined by husbands' incomes. Children's responsibilities to help to provide for the household dwindled; they came to specialize more and more and, for in- creasingly longer years, in acquiring education for their own adult lives, while their parents continued to support them (Blau and Ferber, 1986; Wel- ter, 1978~. Under these conditions the concept of a "living wage," adequate to en- able a male worker to maintain not only himself but also his wife and children, became a common goal of unions in collective bargaining in many industries, especially among the emerging large corporations. All too often men did not receive a wage large enough to support their families; hence, in many less affluent families, in particular nonwhite and immigrant families, women worked for pay to supplement family income. Eventually, pensions and social security systems were instituted to help take care of retired people. Public education was greatly expanded to help young men acquire the skills needed in the labor force and to teach young women those needed for homemaking (Dealer, 1980~. Although these programs reduced the financial burdens on families, other problems remained. In the course of the twentieth century, growing numbers of married women entered the labor force. The time needed for housework declined as labor- saving devices became available and as more of the goods and services previously produced in households became available for purchase in the marketplace. The time needed for child care declined as fertility declined, and longer life expectancy gave women more years when there were no children in the family to care for. In addition, the invention of new prod- ucts, from automobiles and radios to telephones, air conditioners, and tele- vision sets, raised aspirations for a higher standard of living. Finally, the increasing possibility of divorce made women more cautious about being entirely dependent on their husbands' earnings. These developments, together with the higher wages made possible by
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 21 improved technology, larger amounts of capital used in production, and higher levels of education, made it more costly than previously in terms of "lost income" for women to be full-time homemakers. This, in turn, caused an increase in the number of women opting for employment. Growth in the clerical and service occupations also increased demand for women's labor. But these new occupations often paid lower wages than what was needed to support a family, and the growing number of families with two wage earn- ers weakened the case for a family wage. Thus, two-earner families became more and more necessary to achieve the standard of living to which families aspired. Wives nonetheless have continued to look after households and care for children and, as needed, for infirm family members (O'Kelly, 1980~. Exploration of the resulting tensions and how they affect both work and family is the subject of this study. THE CHANGING WORKPLACE The historic development of the workplace provides an important per- spective for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of today's mix of policies and programs for families. Employer concern with family issues is by no means unprecedented. Wage and benefit packages linked to assump- tions about the family status of employees began early in the industrial revolution. Since the 1930s, federal and state governments have also been playing a major role in regulating wage and benefit decisions. They too largely still assumed the prevalence of traditional families. The Modern Era Through World War II As long ago as the beginning of the textile industry in New England, young single women were carefully supervised in company housing. In mining towns, company housing and company stores were common. Such programs, often labeled paternalism or what Brandes (1976) refers to as welfare capitalism, reached their height during the period of rapid industri- alization from 1880 to 1920. Workers, mainly from farms and small villages either in the United States or abroad, came from a background of small family enterprises. They had to be acculturated to a life that revolved around industrial employment and to newly emerging technology. Under these circumstances, it was com- mon for large companies to provide not only housing and stores, but also social services and, for immigrants, English-language classes. These pro- grams were intended both to improve productivity and to make workers more dependent on and loyal to their employer. An extreme example of a company committed to welfare capitalism was the Ford Motor Company. It instituted a Sociological Department in 1914,
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22 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE which lasted until 1921 (Meyer, 1984). Under the personal supervision of Henry Ford, department employees visited the homes of all assembly line workers. These visits were intended to ensure conformity of workers' home life to company standards of order, cleanliness, and temperance. Children's attendance at school was strongly encouraged. Penalties for nonconformity included withholding part of one's wages until the shortcomings were cor- rected. Welfare capitalism declined after World War I. Little research has been done to ascertain the reasons for the decline. It may have been related to the rise of the labor movement, which relied on bargaining to make sure the interests of workers were protected. The growing availability of a disci- plined urban labor force and sharp restrictions on immigration may have convinced employers that there was less need for such programs. In the 1930s, the Great Depression seriously weakened the ability of employers to provide such support. By 1936, the base of a federal social insurance system most particularly Social Security was established. During World War II, employers again provided some family services, with government help; the major reason was to attract women into the war industries. Over 2,000 employer-based child care centers were established to help deal with the conflicting demands of work and family (Auerbach, 1988~; these programs were generally discontinued at the end of the war when there was no longer a shortage of male workers. Post World War II In the period immediately following World War II, the great majority of workers were still either heads of families that included full-time home- makers or single people. Both these categories of workers were relied on to give full allegiance to their jobs, not being distracted by responsibilities for the care of dependents. Many were willing and eager to work overtime as needed, to take on greater responsibilities requiring longer hours as opportunities arose, and to maintain or establish residences as dictated by the location of jobs. These workers were first and foremost breadwinners, concerned with earnings and security. Far from permitting family to inter- fere with work, the expectation was that they would permit their jobs to make demands on other family members. This was most common in high- status occupations, especially among managers and executives (Kanter, 1977a; Whyte, 19511. In some cases wives were assumed to provide essen- tial but unpaid work as part of their husbands' careers (Papanek, 19731. Under these circumstances, what most employees wanted, what unions bargained for, and what employers offered when they sought to attract more and better qualified workers was mainly a wage adequate to support a fam- ily. Beyond that, the emphasis was on provision for such contingencies
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 23 as unemployment, illness, disability, and retirement in part because em- ployers were able to secure better terms than individuals. Thus, insurance and pensions increasingly came to be included in fringe benefit packages. Government also played a role in furthering this trend by providing tax preferences for employers to provide benefits and by mandating certain programs. Employer contributions to legally required benefit programs now stand at an estimated 9 percent of total compensation. These are primarily for old age, survivors, disability, and health insurance; unemployment com- pensation; and workers' compensation (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1990a). Programs that are not required but that are often provided voluntarily or because of union negotiations include pensions, life and health insurance, death benefits, paid time off for vacations, and sick leave (Woodbury, 1989~. Together these nonwage benefit programs account for almost 28 percent of total compensation. Although many of these programs benefit dependents as well as workers, most are still built on the assumption that the employee is the sole breadwinner of the family. In recent years, as a result of the increase in two-earner families, pres sure from employees and unions for different, family-oriented benefits for workers has increased, and it is likely to continue to do so. Similarly, employers' concerns over family commitments that tend to interfere with the ability of workers to perform their job as traditionally defined has also grown, and it too is likely to continue to do so. Related Developments Other historic changes that also helped to shape the present are only beginning to receive attention. People who came of age in the 1940s and 1950s were unusually fortunate. There were no major recessions in those years; they were members of relatively small birth cohorts; most of them achieved job security before the long-term rise in unemployment began in the 1970s; and labor market opportunities for women were improving. They were also the first generation that was largely relieved of the financial burden of taking care of their parents, most of whom received at least partial support through Social Security. The situation for subsequent labor force entrants has been far less favor- able. As baby boomers came of age, beginning in the middle 1960s, the supply of workers grew rapidly. It was augmented by immigration, both legal and illegal, which grew from about 3.3 million a year in the 1960s to about 6.4 million in the 1980s. The influx of women into the labor force has also continued. As noted above, women were entering the labor force not only in response to inflation and a slowdown in the growth of real wages, but also partly in response to the growing social acceptance of fam- ily life that included two wage earners. As a result of all these changes, in
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24 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE recent generations one-earner families have found it increasingly difficult to even maintain the living standards of their parents let alone to exceed them, as had long been the accepted norm. EMPLOYMENT AND EARNINGS It is very difficult to determine to what extent the change in available jobs has influenced the entry of new workers and to what extent the avail- ability of workers has influenced the number and kinds of jobs in the economy. In any case, the overall image that emerges is one of rapid changes in both the work force and the job market. Among labor force entrants, women now substantially outnumber men. The proportion of blacks, other non- whites, and Hispanics in the work force has been increasing rapidly. At the same time, a major shift in available jobs has taken place from manufactur- ing to service industries. Large numbers of jobs are being created, but they tend to be of two kinds: either well-paying white-collar positions for well- educated workers or jobs that do not pay enough for workers to maintain themselves above the poverty level. The employment and earnings data described below reflect these changes. Sex, Race, and Education One of the most dramatic developments in the U.S. labor force over the last century has been the rapid increase in women's participation in re- sponse to industrialization, rural-to-urban migration, rising levels of educa- tion, increases in real wages (until relatively recently), declines in fertility, and increases in life expectancy. Another reason for the increase is that, as goods and services once produced at home (as well as new products) have become available for purchase, the need to spend time at home has been reduced and paid employment has become more attractive. Women's earnings have raised overall spending and hence the demand for labor, particularly in the service sector. Women with better job oppor- tunities are likely to postpone marriage and have fewer children and to get more education and training, which in turn further increases their labor market opportunities. In the 1970s, the situation changed when inflation and recession reduced the rate at which women's wages increased; men's wages even declined at times in that period. Some women entered the labor force in response to husbands' falling wages while others entered although their husbands' wages were rising. The desire to achieve and maintain the expected standard of living provided an important additional impetus for women to seek employment. The rapidly rising divorce rate, itself perhaps related to women's greater ability to support themselves, further added to women's need for paid jobs (discussed in Chapter 31.
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 25 In sum, it appears that, in times of rising wages, women have entered the labor market in response to greater incentives and, in times of falling wages, they have entered in order to avoid a decline in family income. The result has been a long-term upward shift in women's employment, which has taken on a life of its own (England, 1989~. Along with all these develop- ments, attitudes toward women's roles have gradually changed. Social pres- sures to stay at home have diminished some people say they may even have been reversed and in recent years there is evidence that men's participation in household work is slowly increasing (fleck, 1989~. Between 1950 and 1989, the percentage of all women in the labor force (working for pay or looking for such work) increased from about 34 per- cent to 57 percent, while the percentage of all men in the labor force de- clined from almost 87 percent to 76 percent. The latter change has resulted from the fact that young men have tended to stay in school longer and older men have been retiring earlier. There may also be more men who despair of finding a job and drop out of the labor force because of structural changes in the economy or because they live in depressed areas; this is especially likely to be true for minority men. Since women have also been acquiring more years of schooling and retiring at younger ages than earlier, the rise in women's labor force par- ticipation rate in their middle years has been even greater than is suggested by the data for the total adult population: more than 70 percent of all women between the ages of 18 and 50 are now in the labor force (Bureau of Labor Statistics, l990b). As a result of the increasing percentage of all women in the labor force and the decrease in the percentage of all men in the labor force, the proportion of the labor force that is female has changed from about 20 percent at the turn of the century to more than 45 percent today. Projections suggest that this ratio is likely to reach about 48 percent by 2000 (Johnston and Packer, 19871. Interestingly, the proportion of women who work for pay does not cur- rently vary a great deal by race and ethnicity. As shown in Table 2-1, the participation rate of nonwhite women in 1955 was considerably higher than that of white women. Now, black women are only marginally more likely to be working for pay than white women, although a larger propor- tion of white women work part time by choice. At the same time, the labor force participation of black men, which was virtually the same as for white men as late as 1955, is now about 6 percentage points lower. Thus, overall, the labor force participation of blacks increased less than that of whites. It is also worth noting that among ethnic groups the labor force participation rate of Hispanic women is the lowest and that of Hispanic men the highest. There is a strong positive relation between education and labor force participation for women. This is true even though better educated women tend to be married to better educated men with higher incomes. In 1987, r - ~
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26 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE TABLE 2-1 Labor Force Participation Rates, 1955- 1989 Men Women Year White Nonwhite Hispanica White Nonwhite Hispanica 1955 85.4 85.0 n.a. 34.5 46.1 n.a. 1965 80.8 79.6 n.a. 38.1 48.6 n.a. 1973 79.5 73.8 81.5 44.1 49.1 40.9 1981 77.9 70.6 80.6 51.9 53.6 47.5 1984 77.1 71.4 80.5 53.3 55.3 49.9 1989 77.1 71.0h 82.0 57.2 58.7b 53.5 NOTE: Data are for civilian labor force age 16 and older. aHispanics are also included under the relevant racial category. bData are for blacks rather than nonwhites. n.a. = not available. SOURCE: Data for 1955-1984 from Blau and Ferber (1986:Table 4.2); data for 1989 from Bureau of Labor Statistics (199Ob:Table 39). the labor force participation rate for women ages 25-64 ranged from about 60 percent for those with less than 4 years of high school to almost 90 percent for those with 4 or more years of college (Bureau of Labor Statis- tics, l990b). The availability of good job opportunities, of course, itself plays a role in attracting women into the labor market. Family Status Throughout this report, we refer to families and households. As noted in Chapter 1, in U.S. government data a family is defined as two or more persons living together who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Increasingly, bonds equivalent to marriage are also recognized, and we do so in this report. A household is defined as one or more persons living in the same dwelling unit and sharing living expenses. Thus, all families are households, but all households are not families. Family circumstances continue to influence the labor force status of women. For instance, there is a difference in the labor force participation rate be- tween women who maintain families (62.3 percent) and those who are mar- ried with their husband present (55.8 percent), although the difference was not as great in the 1980s as it was in the 1960s. The labor force participa- tion of married women with their spouse present also differs by age of youngest child. In 1988, 72.5 percent of these women with children ages 6 to 17 and 57.1 percent of those with children under age 6 were in the labor force. The rates for both groups have increased dramatically since 1960,
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 27 when the figures were only 39 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively (Bureau of Census, 1 990b). With this influx of married women and mothers into the labor market, there has also been a substantial increase in part-time workers, who often make such an arrangement by preference. As shown in Table 2-2, a far larger proportion of women than men-both black and white work part time, and a substantially larger percentage of unemployed women than men are looking for part-time work. Part-time employment is no doubt viewed as a useful compromise by many women who have families to care for, but it also tends to be costly for them. In general, part-time employees not only earn a lower wage rate, but also rarely receive the benefits that full-time workers usually get. This need not be a serious problem if a worker's spouse has substantial earnings and receives benefits for family members, but it may be for others, espe- cially a single head of household. Single Earners People who are the sole adult in their family clearly have relatively more difficulty in balancing their responsibilities as wage earners and homemak- ers. This is especially so for low-income men or women who cannot afford to purchase the services and conveniences that make caring for a household less onerous. The proportion of families with only one adult is now quite TABLE 2-2 Labor Force Status of Men and Women by Race, Average Annual Percentage, 1989 White Black Labor Force StatusMenWomen MenWomen Working full time84.768.8 76.770.5 Working part time For economic reasonsa3.14.5 5.46.7 Voluntarily7.722.2 6.412.0 Unemployed Looking for full-time work3.83.2 10.09.2 Looking for part-time work0.71.3 1.72.3 Total number (in thousands)58?98847,367 6,7026,796 NOTE: Data are for civilian labor force age 16 and older. Total percentages do not add up to 100.0 due to rounding. aIncludes reasons such as slack work or could only find part-time work. SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics (1990b:Table 7).
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28 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE large (Table 2-3~. Approximately 23 percent of all working men and women who maintain families do not have a spouse present in the household; four- fifths of them are women who most often are divorced or never-married parents. Such families comprised 8.7 percent of all families in 1970 and 11.6 percent in 1988 (Bureau of the Census, 1989d). These households fare much worse than those with two adults. Poor people do not have the unpaid family care of a full-time homemaker, which is an often overlooked addition to family well-being (Morgan, 1984~. They also suffer in terms of money income; the situation is particularly serious for black and Hispanic families. For example, in 1987 among female heads of household who were married but whose spouse was absent, the mean household income for whites was $15,680; for blacks, $12,651; and for Hispanics, $10,812. For the same year, the mean household income for white households with the spouse present was $41,129; for blacks, $31,494; and for Hispanics, $30,253. Table 2-4 shows that over 56 percent of fami- lies headed by black women fall below the poverty level (measured in 1988 as $12,091 for a family of four, counting money income only); more than 59 percent of those headed by Hispanic women do. Because divorce rates are higher among poor people and because they have higher fertility rates, single-adult families maintained by mothers have, on average, 0.7 more children than do married couples with children (Bu- reau of the Census, 1989a). Overall, the poverty rate among children in the United States is almost double that of adults (Bureau of the Census, 1989b). The proportion of Americans living in poverty was somewhat higher in the 1980s than in the 1970s using a constant standard of poverty adjusted TABLE 2-3 Employment Status of Adults Who Maintain Families by Work Status of Spouse, 1989 (in thousands) Men Women Spouse's Work StatusEmployed PercentEmployed Percent Employed spouse25,618 62.425,618 73.4 Unemployed spouse877 2.1685 2.0 Spouse not in labor force12,478 30.42,261 6.5 Spouse not present2,113 5.16,338 18.2 Total41,086 100.034,902 1 OO.Oa NOTE: Excludes persons living alone or with nonrelatives, persons in married-couple families where the husband or wife is in the Armed Forces, other relatives 16 years and over, and persons in unrelated subfamilies. aDoes not equal 100.00 due to rounding. SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics (199Ob:Table 8).
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 31 on average, less than two per family today. While the proportion of house- holds with three or four members remained steady between 1970 and 1988, the proportion with five or more members declined from 20.9 to 10.5 per ~ ~ ~ ~ A ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 1 , 1 _ _, cent (Bureau of the census, lY6YO). Nonetheless, cn~oren make one most demands on parents' time and energy during the stage of the life cycle when earnings are still low and the demands of getting established in a career are high. It is estimated that the elderly (defined as those over age 65), who constituted 4 percent of the population in 1900 and 12 percent in 1988, will constitute more than 20 percent by 2030. Moreover, the greatest rela- tive growth in life expectancy has occurred at age 85 and above (McGill, 1988~. Because women in their forties and fifties are increasingly more likely to be in the labor force and people have fewer siblings to share in caring for parents, the challenge of caring for frail elderly parents is likely to grow in the foreseeable future. The effects of family pressures, discussed in more detail in Chapters 4 and 5, continue to be greatest for women. Despite substantial increases in women's labor force participation, changes in men's participation in house- work have been very slow. Estimates of the number of hours per day devoted to housework in 1960 ranged from 4.0 to 5.3 for employed wives and from 1.1 to 1.6 for their husbands. By 1970 the number of hours for employed wives declined to between 2.3 and 4.0, but for their husbands the number remained essentially unchanged at 0.6 to 1.9. As recently as 1981- 1982, it was estimated that wives spent 4.2 hours daily on housework but husbands only 2.1 hours. These recent figures are not quite comparable, because they include couples with full-time homemakers; still, they are the only ones available. The one sign that greater changes may be imminent is that in 1981-1982, among people ages 25-44, women spent 0.14 hours per day less on housework and men 0.42 hours more than did their counterparts in 1975 - 1976 (Blau and Ferber, 19861. As men are slowly taking on more household responsibilities, they are also increasingly experiencing the pressures of dual allegiance that women have lived with for a long time (fleck, 1989~. Thus, it is not surprising that a recent study at the DuPont Company showed "that the attitudes of men concerning work and family issues are rapidly approaching those of women, a significant change over . . . just four years ago" (Wohl, 1989:1831. The heavy commitments of dual-earner couples are suggested by esti- mates that, in 1970, husbands and wives who were both in the labor market together spent only about 2.5 hours less per day on housework but about 4.5 hours more at their jobs than couples with a full-time homemaker (Blau and Ferber, 1986~. The increase in total time worked would be even greater if there were data for couples with both spouses working full time. Fami- lies are "time poor" when all the adults are employed and there are depen- dents who need care (Vickery, 19771.
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32 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE Occupation The degree of hardship encountered by men and women because of the dual responsibilities of jobs and families depends in part on earnings, be- cause money can be used to purchase substitutes for household work. It also depends on occupation, for there are great differences in the demands made by and the flexibility of different kinds of work. Analysis of a na- tional sample showed that, as hours of work increase, so does work-family conflict (Staines and Fleck, 1983~. One survey of young professional men found that 59 percent claimed that their long hours tended to disrupt family life (Mortimer, 1980~. Both earnings and type of work vary consid- erably for various population groups. Women and men, and whites and nonwhites, remain concentrated in different occupations, although sex segregation appears to have declined somewhat in recent years. For example, 29 percent of white women and 27 percent of black women are employed in administrative support (formerly clerical) positions, compared with 5 percent of white men and 9 percent of black men. Similarly, almost 15 percent of white men and 11 percent of white women are in the executive and managerial category, compared with only 6 percent of black men and 7 percent of black women (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1990b). Table 2-6 provides information on median incomes of men and women by occupation. In 6 of 12 categories, women on average earn less than TABLE 2-6 Median Income of Year-Round Full-Time Workers, 1988 Median Income Occupation Men Women Executive, administrative, managerial $36,759 $23,356 Professional specialty 37,490 25,789 Technical and related support 30,369 21,039 Sales 27,022 15,474 Administrative support, including clerical 24,399 16,676 Precision production, craft, repair 25,746 16.869 Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors 21,382 13,289 Transportation and material moving 23,453 13,021 Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers 17,042 13,397 Service workers, private household a 7,299 Service workers, others 18,648 11,232 Farming, forestry, and fishing 14,300 9,926 aBase less than $75,000. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1989b:Table 11).
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE TABLE 2-7 Median Household Income, 1988 Family Composition Race or Ethnic Origin and Location White Black Hispanica All Households $28,781 $16,407 $20,359 Number of earners No earners 11,269 5,577 6,063 1 earner 24,263 14,920 16,139 2 earners 38,998 31,334 28,044 3 earners 50,050 41,435 36,563 4 or more 65,192 54,151 46,620 Residence Farm 24,415 b h Nonfarm 28,884 16,431 20,454 Metropolitan 31,088 17,418 20,825 Nonmetropolitan 22,405 12,003 15,978 Region Northeast 31,578 19,108 18,574 Midwest 28,875 15,012 24,142 South 26,949 15,029 17,986 West 29,160 23,175 21,790 NOTE: Restricted to households with civilian householders. aPersons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. DBase less than $75,000 SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1989b:Table 1). 33 $15,000. In 1988 the poverty level for a family of four was $12,091; clearly, many of these workers, although they are employed full time, find it extremely difficult to provide adequate support for a family, especially if it includes young children or elderly members who need care. Male workers fare better: 80.9 percent of white men and 67.5 percent of black men are in occupations with median earnings above $15,000 (al- though this is not a very high standard of affluence). Only 26.2 percent of white men and 12.7 percent of black men are executives and professionals who earn, on average, more than $30,000. Of course the majority of hus- band-wife families today have two wage earners, but persons in low-income occupations tend to have spouses who also earn little. According to the Bureau of the Census (1989b), almost 10 percent of couples with both spouses employed have earnings below $20,000, and almost 30 percent have earnings below $30,000. Table 2-7 shows median incomes for families with different numbers of earners by race, ethnicity, residence, and region. The differences by race
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34 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE and ethnicity are much greater than those by region, although, as might be expected, there are substantial differences in earnings between urban and rural areas. Industry and Unionization Conditions of work and earnings are determined not only by occupation, but also by the industry in which a worker is employed. For instance, some industries are more cyclically or seasonally stable than others. Recent research has also convincingly demonstrated that workers performing very similar or identical tasks earn considerably more in some industries than in others (Katz and Summers, 1988~. Similarly, the number of hours worked and the extent to which workers are employed full time or part time vary consider- ably, as seen in Table 2-8. As we detail in Chapters 5 and 6, the extent and nature of fringe benefits also varies dramatically by industry. It is these disparities in rewards by occupation, industry, and work status that in large part account for the variations in the standard of living of different population groups. As we noted above, women are more likely than men to work part time and in low-paying industries, such as the service sector. Women also tend to work fewer hours per week (Bureau of Labor Statistics, l990b). TABLE 2-8 Wage and Salary Workers in Nonagricultural Industries, 1989 Part-Time Workers Average Average Total (percent) Hours, Hours, at Work Economica Volun- Total Full-Time Industry (thousands) (percent) tary at Work Workers Total 99,754 4.1 13.5 39.3 43.3 Mining 642 2.5 2.3 45.8 47.0 Construction 5,930 6.1 4.4 40.5 42.8 Manufacturing 20,258 2.3 3.3 42.2 43.4 Durable goods 11,978 1.6 2.3 42.7 43.6 Nondurable goods 8,280 3.4 4.7 41.5 43.2 Transportation and public utilities 7,297 2.7 6.0 42.3 44.3 Wholesale and retail trade 21,322 6.3 23.4 37.1 44.1 Finance, insurance, and real estate 7,038 1.8 9.6 40.1 42.6 Service industries 31,985 4.7 19.3 37.4 43.0 Private household 1,057 18.0 44.1 26.4 45.6 All other service industries 30,928 4.3 18.4 37.8 43.0 Public administration 5,282 0.9 4.9 40.8 42.2 aIncludes reasons such as slack work or could only find part-time work. SOURCE: Adapted from Bureau of Labor Statistics (199Ob:Table 32).
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE TABLE 2-9 Employment by Sector, 1948 and 1986 Shares of Total Employment (percent) Sector 1948 1986 Net New Jobs, 1948-1986 (thousands) Agriculture 4.3 1.6 -587 Mining 2.1 0.8 -234 Construction 4.8 4.9 2,352 Manufacturing 32.3 19.4 2,959 Services 56.5 73.4 42,678 Total 100.0 100.0 47,168 NOTE: Employment is measured in full-time equivalents. SOURCE: Adapted from Waldstein (1989:Table 2). 35 Related to growth in the service sector is growth in small firms. Accord- ing to the Small Business Administration, between 1980 and 1986, 64 per- cent of the 10.5 million new jobs were created by businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and half of the new jobs in the service sector were in such firms (U.S. Small Business Administration, 19871. Approximately 39 percent of the new jobs came from firms with fewer than 20 employees. There was even some growth in small firms in the manufacturing sector, which showed an overall net loss of 1.7 million jobs during that period. Whereas 64 percent of new jobs are found in small firms, they also repre- sent a lower but still large percentage of ongoing jobs. Small firms are clearly an important part of the growing economy, but there is also evidence that, because of a relatively high failure rate of new small businesses, some of the new jobs created are short-lived. This fact may explain the discrepancy between jobs created and employment status. A re- cent analysis of the May 1988 Current Population Survey found that 38 per- cent of nonfarm wage and salary workers in the private sector were in firms with fewer than 100 employees, a decrease from 43 percent in 1983 (Piacentini, 1990~. (Both numbers are slight underestimations because firm size was un- determined for 9 percent of the sample in 1988 and 6 percent in 1983.) It is significant that growth in new jobs has been in the lower-paying service sector of the economy (Table 2-9~. Average hourly earnings are almost $2 an hour less in the expanding industries: $7.70 compared with $9.93 in shrinking industries (Waldstein, 1989~. Furthermore, growth in involuntary part-time work has been greatest in the service industries. For example, between 1979 and 1986, involuntary part-time jobs increased 88
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36 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE percent in miscellaneous services, compared with 61 percent in trade and 21 percent in durable manufacturing (Waldstein, 19891. It is also important to note that considerable job growth has occurred in the public sector. In 1985, governments employed 16.6 percent of the labor force: the federal government accounted for 2.9 percent, and state and local governments accounted for 13.7 percent. Union representation also varies by industry (Table 2-10~. Hamermesh and Rees (1988) estimate that wages of workers who are in unions are about 10 to 15 percent higher than for those not in unions. Union membership as a percentage of the total labor force, however, peaked in 1945 at 34.5 percent. By 1989, union members represented only 16.4 percent of nonagricul- tural workers. More recently, there has also been a decline in absolute numbers, from 20 million in 1980 to 17 million in 1989. Union member- ship differs by race and ethnicity and especially by sex. Among men, approximately 19 percent of whites, 25 percent of blacks, and 17 percent of Hispanics are union members; among women, 11.5 percent of whites, 20 percent of blacks, and 13 percent of Hispanics belong to unions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1990b). Differences in membership range by region, from a low of 14 percent in the South to almost 27 percent in the North Central part of the country (lIamermesh and Rees, 1988~. To some extent, these differences reflect differences in distribution by occupation and industry. The ethnic and gender composition of unions is changing. Today the proportion of Hispanic workers in unions is about the same as that of whites, and that of blacks is a good deal higher. Women continue to be underrepre- sented in unions relative to their representation in the labor force, but not to the same extent as previously. In fact, women have accounted for half of all new union members in the last 20 years. Thus, while the proportion of men in unions has declined precipitously since World War II, that of women has grown slightly. It is therefore not surprising that since the 1960s more unions have become advocates for a number of policies further- ing women's equality in the labor market, and others are oriented toward helping two-earner couples (Cook, 19891. Explanations for Race and Sex Differences Throughout this section on employment and earnings, the data have shown substantial differences by sex and by race. There is evidence that this is true by ethnicity as well, although detailed data are not readily available. Although the difference in the labor force participation of men and women has declined considerably and occupational segregation has declined some- what, the gender earnings gap has been closing only very slowly. In 1970 women working full time year round earned 62 percent as much as men and, in 1987, 70 percent as much.
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 37 TABLE 2-10 Union Affiliation by Industry, 1989 (percentage of employed) Industry Members of Unionsa Represented by Unionsb Agricultural wage and salary workers Private nonagricultural wage and salary workers Mining Construction Manufacturing Durable goods Nondurable goods Transportation and public utilities Transportation Communications and public utilities Wholesale and retail trade Wholesale trade Retail trade Finance, insurance, and real estate Services Government workers 1.2 12.4 17.5 21.5 21.6 23.1 19.4 31.6 29.6 34.2 6.3 6.8 6.1 2.3 5.8 36.7 13.7 19.7 22.6 23.1 24.7 20.8 34.1 31.3 38.0 7.0 7.8 6.8 3.1 7.0 43.6 aData refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union. bData refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union as well as workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract. SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics (1990b:Table 58). Even less change has occurred in recent years in earnings differences for racial and ethnic groups. In comparison with the earnings of white men, those of black men rose sharply from 61 percent in the mid-19SOs to 77 percent in the mid-1970s, but they have since declined slightly. The earn- ings of black women in comparison with white women rose even more during the same period, from S1 percent in the mid-19SOs to 98 percent in the mid-1970s, but they have since declined to 91 percent. Data for Hispan- ics are not available for the earlier period, but the ratio of their earnings to the rest of the population has declined modestly since 1975, from 72 per- cent to 70 percent for men and from 85 percent to 82 percent for women. A great deal of research has been done in the hope of determining the causes of these differences, but much disagreement remains. Economists who believe in the efficient operation of the competitive labor market ex- plain occupational segregation by sex largely in terms of women's lesser labor market attachment, presumably due in large part to family responsi- bilities, which cause them to seek out jobs that involve less investment in human capital (such as specialized education, training, and on-thejob expe- rience) and impose lower penalties for work interruptions (Mincer and Pola
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38 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE chek, 1974; Polachek, 1981, 1987; Filer, 1989~. Segregation by race is mainly attributed to fewer years and lower quality of education of blacks and to some extent to the fact that they tend to work shorter hours. The occupational distribution in turn helps to explain the earnings gap, together with the direct effects of the lesser accumulation of human capital by women . . . and minorities. Alternative explanations emphasize habit, discrimination, and the rigid- ity of internal work structures as intentional and unintentional factors that contribute to both occupational segregation and the earnings gap. While not denying that differences in education, training, and experience play a role, proponents of these views point out, first, that none of the numerous studies using a wide variety of human capital variables is able to account for more than 50 percent of the total difference in earnings (Treiman and Hartmann, 1981; Michael et al., 1989~. Second, they suggest that some of the shortfall of human capital among women and minorities is itself likely to be caused by societal or labor market discrimination (Arrow, 1973; Bergmann, 1976~. Such feedback effects make it difficult to determine the relative importance of individual factors. The main unresolved points between the two schools of thought are to what extent variables that cannot be measured, but that would presumably favor white males, account for the unexplained earnings gap and how much credence should be put in the claim that, in the absence of discrimination, the differences in qualifications would diminish (Blau and Ferber, 1987; England and Farkas, 1986~. Also, the large unattributed differences may indicate that labor markets are simply inefficient in practice. Unemployment Even more serious than the plight of workers holding jobs with low pay is the situation of those who are unable to find work. The extent to which unemployment is a problem has varied over time. The overall unemploy- ment rate in this country since World War II has fluctuated from a low of 2.9 percent in 1953 to a high of 9.7 in 1982 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1983~; it was between 5 and 6 percent in the late 1980s. These figures do not include discouraged workers (people who would like to work but are not actively looking for a job) or part-time workers who would prefer to work full time. There also are variations in unemployment rates among different groups. In general, rates for women have been somewhat higher than for men, particularly so during periods when the labor market is rela tively tight (i.e., unemployment is low). This is the case, in part, because women tend to be employed in industries that are cyclically stable, so that their unemployment rate rises less during downswings and declines less during upswings. Women are also especially likely to enter the labor force
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 39 during prosperous times, so that their unemployment rate does not decline as much (Ferber and Lowry, 1976~. Differences in unemployment rates are substantially greater by age, level of education, and race and ethnicity than by sex. In recent years, the rate for teenagers has been about three times higher than that of adults (age 20 and over). Unemployment rises sharply as the level of education declines; it is more than four times greater for high school dropouts than for college graduates. And Hispanics are almost twice as likely as whites to be unem- ployed; blacks are somewhat more than twice as likely. FUTURE EMPLOYMENT TRENDS We now turn to a brief examination of projections for the future of both women's labor market participation and changes in the total labor force. These developments will have a great impact on the environment in which businesses seek to hire and keep workers and in which workers seek to find and keep jobs that offer satisfactory rewards. Forecasts are inherently hazardous, yet this is less true of near-term pro- jections of the labor force, because the people who will be working a few years hence have already been born. Furthermore, the near-term age distri- bution of the population is known, and the labor force participation of the young and the old is not likely to change dramatically. illegal immigration, however, introduces some uncertainty into projections; because the relevant laws were recently changed, the annual number of undocumented aliens is projected to decline from 200,000 in 1988 to 100,000 in 1998 (Fullerton, 1989J. Even so, the assumption that the recent rate of entry of all immi- grants, estimated to be 450,000 a year, is likely to continue appears to be realistic, assuming no new legislation affecting entry rates. New immi- grants are expected to represent 22 percent of the projected net total of new workers between 1985 and 2000 (Fullerton, 1989; Johnston and Packer, 1987) and to locate in the cities and states that today have large concentra- tions of recent immigrants. While there may be some effect in regions where immigration is particularly heavy, Johnston and Packer (1987) tenta- tively conclude that immigrants do not have a negative effect overall on native minority workers, as some fear. Somewhat more conjectural is the question of to what extent women's labor force participation will continue to rise. For some time there was a tendency to underestimate future increases, but predictions are probably now more accurate. Carefully documented work by Johnston and Packer (1987) and Fullerton (1989) projects that women's labor force participation rate, which was 56.1 percent in 1987, will be approximately 62 percent in 2000. In view of the recent very modest increases in labor force participa- tion among young women, many of whom continue their schooling, as well
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40 WORK AND FAMILY: POLICIES FOR A CHANGING WORK FORCE as a slight decline among elderly women, who retire somewhat earlier than men, these projections seem reasonable. The total labor force is expected to increase from 115 million in 1985 to 139 or 140 million in 2000. Of the net change of 25 million workers, only 36 percent are likely to be men, and among the men somewhat more than half will be minorities or immigrants. Thus, the change in the composition of the labor force witnessed in recent decades is expected to continue. Similarly, a changing economy will continue to affect the jobs that need to be filled. The most recent occupational projections expect the long-term employment shift to service industries, particularly in business and health services, to continue (Kutscher, 1989~. These are also industries composed of relatively small firms (Johnston and Packer, 1987~. The fastest-growing occupations are in managerial, professional, and technical specialties that require high levels of education. However, four of the six occupations that have recently grown most rapidly in absolute numbers pay low wages: re- tail salesworkers, janitors and cleaners, waitresses and waiters, and general office clerks. The other two occupations with the largest job growth are registered nurses and general managers and top executives (Silvestri and Lukasiewicz, 1989~. Labor shortages are projected for entry-level jobs, primarily because of the decline in the number of young people ages 16 to 24 entering the work force. This shortage will be most noticeable in areas that already have low unemployment rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects shortages of workers for technical and skilled craft jobs that require some postsecond- ary education or training but less than a 4-year college degree. This ex- pected shortage in large part reflects continuing low completion rates for high school, especially among black and Hispanic youths. Hispanics are the fastest-growing component of the labor force, but they also have the lowest high school completion rates: 54.7 percent compared with 64.9 percent for blacks and 76.6 for whites (Kutscher, 1989~. CONCLUSIONS Today's diverse family forms are not unprecedented, nor are the con- cerns with family issues on the part of employers and governments. What has become known as the traditional family is a relatively new phenom- enon, and it was never universal. Some women have always been employed outside the household, initially single women and widows in addition to poor, immigrant, and black women. The evolution of wage and benefit packages, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, has been linked to assumptions about the family status of workers, as have the government programs that began in the 1930s, such as family assistance programs, so . . . . cla insurance, and tax incentives.
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THE FAMILY AND THE WORKPLACE 4 . . The labor force in much of the United States is continuing to become more diverse, not only because of the influx of women, especially those with young children, but also by race and ethnicity because of both rural- urban migration within the country and immigration from abroad. At the same time, projections for the year 2000 anticipate continued growth of employment in the service sector, in small firms, and in entry-level jobs, all of which have traditionally employed a relatively large number of women and minority workers. Although union membership has declined, unions continue to play a role in determining the wages and benefits of this new work force. Family status is no longer as important a determinant of labor force participation as it was previously, yet married women with husbands pre- sent and mothers of young children are still less likely to be employed, as well as more likely to be employed part time, than other women. The number of two-earner families is rapidly rising; they have more money but less discretionary time than families with two adults and one wage earner. Female-headed families have also become increasingly numerous, and they tend to be very short of both money and time. Minority families are disproportionately represented in this group. Differences in labor force participation of men and women have declined considerably, and occupational segregation has declined somewhat. Women working full time, year round in 1987 earned 70 percent as much as men, compared with 62 percent in 1970. This is still, however, a substantial gap, and even less change has occurred in recent years in the earnings gap by race and ethnicity. Although the reason for these continuing differences remains the subject of debate, there is no question that the low wages of female- and minority-headed families result in fewer resources to deal with family responsibilities. We conclude that the economic well-being of most families is increas- ingly dependent on having two wage earners; at the same time, employers, particularly those in the growth areas, increasingly depend on women and minority workers. The combined labor force and labor market trends over the past several decades and projections for the future raise important questions. How are dependents being cared for when all adults in the family who are able to work are employed? What are the effects at work and at home? How and why have families and employers responded to these changes and the new opportunities and problems to which they have given rise? The answers to these questions are the subject of the remaining chapters of this report.
Representative terms from entire chapter: