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Many Negro college graduates are hiding their lights under a bushel of mediocre and unskilled jobs because they have no other employment opportunity.
One has to be imaginative in rooting out these people from wherever they are and giving them this kind of a chance.
Insofar as unskilled Negroes are concerned, there are many unskilled Negroes who are underachieving, whose performance is not up to their true native potential, simply because of lack of opportunity and the impact of a society which works against the development of individual Negro potential.
In my own experience, for instance, when I have been in companies where Negroes were just at the bottom level of the job structure and had no opportunity to go higher, their productivity was lower and their absentee rate was higher. But when I was in a company where Negroes had a chance and knew they had a chance of an equal opportunity for promotion, there was no difference in the rate of absenteeism on in their productivity.
Traditional testing methods have a built-in cultural bias which obscures, if not obliterates, these basic abilities and general aptitudes.
We have tried to use new employment interview techniques to eliminate this cultural bias and these historical circumstances and to try to determine these actual native abilities if we can probe into them.
With a little time and extra care, our employment office has found unskilled Negroes with this kind of potential whom we have placed in our company.
I have often been asked what the public reaction has been to our merit employment program and the answer is nil. We sense neither any improvement or dropoff in our volume as a result of this program. We have received a minuscule number of letters warmly praising us and a minuscule number of unsigned crank letters damning us. I am personally convinced in my own experience, having lived and worked all over the United States, in the North as well as in the South, that most of the public is far more sophisticated than its business and political leaders-present company excepted.
Senator CLARK. You do not need to except present company.
Mr. Ross. We tend to underestimate the broadening impact of modern methods of communication upon individual thinking. I believe most of the American people everywhere have no confidence in the practicality of attempting to turn back the clock and retreat to yesterday.
Nor do they even believe it is possible to hold fast athwart the explosive volcano of today. I think in the hearts of most American people, there is a very simple conviction that our Nation can only achieve its true destiny if the American dream comes within the reach of all of its people and that it is best we get on with this job.
Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, Mr. Ross.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Ross, you are operating in the three States of Michigan, Ohio, and New York?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.
Senator CLARK. Each of those States has what appears to be a rather effective fair-employment-practices statute. From the point of view of your company, why do you need a Federal bill, or why do you think a Federal bifl is a good idea?
Mr. Ross. I think that while the fair-employment-practice statutes in these States are very good, I think that it would be administrative easier if we could function under one statute. If we expand into other States our problem becomes more complex. Senator CLARK. Are you planning expansion? Mr. Ross. This is possible, Mr. Senator.
Senator CLARK. Are the securities of your company held by the public at all?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir. The American Stock Exchange, yes, sir.
Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, sir. We appreciate your coming down here. Your testimony has been very helpful to us.
Our next witness is Mr. Herman Miller, special assistant of the Office of the Director, Bureau of the C
Mr. Miller, I understand that you would like to work from a blackboard. We will take a short recess so that the blackboard can be set ир. .
(A short recess was taken.)
STATEMENT OF HERMAN P. MILLER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, OFFICE
OF THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE CENSUS
Mr. MILLER. Senator Clark, members of the committee, my name is Herman Miller. I am a statistician for the Bureau of the Census. My stock in trade is numbers, which are usually dull; but they have an eloquence of their own if we just take the trouble to examine them and try to see what they mean.
Senator CLARK. I should have said I read your testimony last night. The entire statement will be put in the record in full.
So you can feel free to operate as you see fit without actually reading it.
(The prepared statement of Mr. Miller follows:) STATEMENT OF HERMAN P. MILLER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR,
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it has been my good fortune to have spent most of the past year on the analysis of recent trends in income distribution in the United States. One major aspect of my study has been an examination of changes in the income and economic status of whites and nonwhites, a subject that is closely related to the investigation into discriminatory practices in Negro employment being conducted by this committee.
Before presenting the census statistics, which are the heart of my testimony, I should like to state that much of what I will say is common knowledge. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the Negro still ranks among the poorest of the poor and that his economic status relative to whites has not improved for nearly 20 years. Many of the figures collected in the census attest to these facts. The lowly position of the Negro has been documented so many times and in so many ways that presenting the evidence seems like proving the obvious. Yet, what is obvious to some may not be apparent to others. Facts form the only sound basis for discussion and action which may help redress the grievances about which the Negro has complained bitterly and suffered patiently for many years. 1. The relative position of the Negro has not improved
There is a general impression that the relative economic position of the Negroparticularly with respect to employment opportunities—has improved in recent years. The Department of Labor states that "occupational differences between Negroes and whites are still large, but Negroes have raised their occupational levels appreciably faster, in the past 22 years, than whites." This conclusion is valid as a generalization for the country as a whole. It can be shown, however, that most of the improvement in the occupational status of the Negro since 1940 has been due to his movement from the rural South to the urban industrial areas rather than to any major improvement in job opportunities. The problem can be seen more clearly, perhaps, in the following perspective:
There has been a general upgrading of occupational skills for both whites and Negroes as the American economy has moved away from agriculture and become more complex and industrialized. As a result, Negroes who were once highly concentrated in sharecropping and farm labor have now moved up to unskilled and semiskilled factory jobs; some have moved into white-collar employment But, there has been a parallel upgrading of jobs held by whites. The real question is whether the relative upward movement has been faster for nonwhites than for whites. Statistical tests that have been applied to the data collected in the past three censuses show that although the occupational status of nonwhites relative to whites has improved for the country as a whole, in most States the nonwhite male now has about the same occupational distribution relative to the whites that he had in 1940 and 1950. The results, summarized in table 1, show that there have been few significant changes in the occupational distribution of nonwhite males relative to whites during the past 20 years.
1 These tests took the form of a standardization procedure which attempts to show in & single summary measure how white and nonwhite employment would compare it all workers in a given occination receive the same earnings and the only difference among them was their percent distribution by occupation. In other words, the average earnings of an occupation is used as a weight; the higher paid the occupation, the greater the weight assigned to it. The operation of the procedure can be demonstrated in a simple numerical example. Assume that all workers can be classified into three types : laborers with a renge earnings of $1,000 ; semiskilled operatives who average $2,000 ; and craftsmen who arerage $3,000. Suppose further that we have 100 white workers distributed as follows: 20 laborers, 30 operatives, and 50 craftsmen; and that we have 100 nonwhite workers. 50 of whom are laborers, 30 operatives and 20 craftsmen. It is possible from this information to develop an index that would permit a quantitative comparison of white and nonwhite employment. The calculations are shown below.
$20. now Operatives, 30 X $2,000
FO, DOW) Craftsmen, 50 X $3,000..
50 X $1,000.
50.000 60. Om 60, 000
170.000 Nonwhite index, 170,000 = 6,000.On the basis of the information given, whites had an index of 38 and nonwhites had an Index of only 28. Whites, therefore, had a bigher occupational Index. Of course. this was known to start with because 50 percent of the whites were craftsmen as compared with only 20 percent of the nonwhites: but, without a standardization procedure there was no simple way to summarize this information so as to include all occupations. This standardization procedure, using actual figures instead of the assumed 'figures in the State description, was applied to 10 major occupation groups. The weights used were the medias earnings of males in each occupation group in 1959. White and nonwhite indexes for males were constructed for each State with 100,000 or more Negroes in 1960. The Indeirs were computed for 1940, 1950, and 1960. For each State, the nonwbite index was expressed as a ratio of the white index. In the Illustration used above the ratio would be 0.74 whic is obtained by dividing 28 by 38. This ratio is shown in table 1 for each State for 1940. 1950, and 1960.
TABLE 1.—Ratio of nonwhite to white occupational index for males, 1940-60 (For States with 100,000 or more Negroes in 1960. See text for explanation of occupational index)
Although the relative occupational status of nonwhites has not changed appreciably in most States since 1940, the income gap between whites and nonwhites did narrow during the Second World War. During the past decade, however, there has been no change in income differentials between the two groups. These facts are shown in table 2. In 1947, the median wage or salary income for nonwhite workers was 54 percent of that received by the whites. In 1962, the ratio was almost identical (55 percent). Prior to 1957 there was a substantial reduction in the earnings gap between whites and nonwhites. In view of the stability of the earnings gap during the postwar period, however, the reduction during the war years cannot be viewed as part of a continuing process, but rather as a phenomenon closely related to war-induced shortages of unskilled labor and government regulations such as those of the War Labor Board designed generally to raise the incomes of lower paid workers, and to an economy operating at full tilt. TABLE 2.-Median wage or salary income of males 14 years old and over with
wage or salary income and of year-round full-time workers, by color for the United States, 1939, and 1947 to 1962
1 Preliminary-unpublished data.
Source: U.8. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports--Consumer Income, Series P-60, annus) issues.
This conclusion is reinforced by details of the 1960 census which show that in the 26 States (including the District of Columbia) which have 100,000 or more Negroes, the ratio of Negro to white income for males increased between 1949 and 1959 in two States (District of Columbia and Florida) and it was unchanged in two others (New Jersey and Oklahoma). In every other State there was a widening of the gap between the incomes of whites and Negroes and in some cases it was fairly substantial. 2. Nonwhites concentrated in lovo paid jobs
It will be shown later that even when nonwhite men are educated and are employed in a trade or profession, their earnings are far below those of whites with the same number of years of schooling and doing the same kinds of work. This is one cause of the low economic status of nonwhites. A more important cause is their concentration in low-paid occupations such as laborers and serv. ice workers. This fact is clearly brought out in table 3 below which shows the occupational distribution of white and nonwhite men by years of schooling.
A nonwhite man who has not gone beyond the eighth grade has very little chance of being anything more than a laborer, a porter, or a factory hand. Nearly 8 out of every 10 nonwhite men with only eight grades of schooling worked as laborers, service workers, or operatives at the time of the last census. Among whites with the same amount of education only 5 out of 10 worked at these low-paid jobs.
The nonwhite high school graduate stands a somewhat better chance of getting a well-paid job; but even his chances are not very good. About 6 out of every 10 nonwhite high school graduates were laborers, service workers or operatives as compared with only 3 out of 10 whites with the same amount of schooling.
Nonwhite college graduates seem to be able to find professional employment in relatively large numbers. About three out of every four were professional or managerial workers-nearly the same proportion as white college graduates But, there is one big difference. Nonwhites were concentrated in the lowerpaid professions. One-third of the male nonwhite college graduates in professional employment were school teachers as compared with only one sixth of the white. Moreover, earnings of nonwhites in the low-paid professions were considerably below those of whites. Relatively few nonwhites are in the higherpaid professions. About 20 percent of the white male college graduates in professional employment were engineers as compared with only 8 percent of the nonwhites; 14 percent of the whites were lawyers or accountants, but only 6 percent of the nonwhites. There were proportionately as many nonwhite doetors as whites, but the average earnings of the nonwhites were only half that received by the whites. TABLE 3.-Percent distribution of white and nonrohite males 18 to 64 years old
by major occupation group and highest grade of school completed: 1960
Source: U.S. Census of Population, 1960, vol. II, Pt. 7B, “Occupation by Earnings and Education." This table excludes persons with less than 8 years of elementary school, and 1 to 3 years of high school or collegr.