Most minorities don't reap benefits of California's strong labor market, according to UCSF researchers

While California's labor market continues to be strong, Latinos and African Americans - who together make up 31 percent of California's working population - are being left behind by the state's technology-driven economic boom, according to the results of the third California Work and Health Survey (CWHS), led by UCSF researchers.

"California's rising tide is not lifting all boats," said Irene Yen, PhD, an epidemiologist at the UCSF Institute for Health and Aging and co-investigator on the CWHS. "When compared with the state's white working population, working Latinos and African Americans are still playing catch up."

Latinos are much less likely than whites to benefit from the growth in jobs in the high technology sector because they are less likely than whites to have completed high school or college and much less likely than whites to report using a computer in their work places, she said.

Among employed Californians, Latinos are 11 times more likely than whites to live in poverty. They are also more likely than whites to lack pension plans and health insurance coverage and to report poor perceived health status, she added.

Only 25 percent of Latinos have traditional jobs, as compared to 36 percent of whites and 38 percent of Asian Americans, Yen said. She explained that traditional job workers were defined in the 1999 CWHS as those who hold a full-time job year-round, work a day shift as a permanent employee, are paid by the firm for which the work is done, and do not work from home or as independent contractors.

"Though the California job market is changing and increasing numbers of Californians are working in non-traditional jobs, traditional jobs are still associated with more stable incomes and availability of pension and health care plans," she explained.

As with Latinos, only one quarter of African Americans report having a traditional job. Similarly, African Americans in the labor force are more likely than wh

Contact: Maureen McInaney
University of California - San Francisco

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