The 33 Whitest Jobs in America

Reuters

The workforce is even more stratified by race than you'd imagine. The differences in unemployment rates, participation rates, and average earnings between whites, blacks, and Hispanics aren't just stark. They're also sturdy, rarely yielding over the last 40 years.

The racial gaps are stark at the job level, too.

Whites account for about 81 percent of the workforce. But there are 33 occupations counted by the BLS (particularly those on farms, around heavy machines, in doctor's offices, and in C-suites) where whites officially account for nine in ten of all workers, or more. Here they are.

I'm passing this along, not because I think it tells us something extraordinarily new, but as a side salad to this longer piece about jobs and race. Still I'd be fascinated to hear theories about the list, because I'm not even going to try. Asians account for 20 percent of physicians and surgeons, but just 1 percent of vets. Grounds cleaning/maintenance workers are 44 percent black, but groundskeepers are 90 percent white. I don't know why, maybe you do.

Again, for more on the racial stratification of the workforce, go here.

UPDATE: Looking over this list, you might have noticed that many of the occupations are skilled construction jobs, such as electricians and carpenters. That's not a coincidence. Trade unions have had a complicated, and often ugly, history with race that's helped shut blacks and Hispanics out of these highly coveted lines of work. In 2005, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about the impact on Chicago's South Side: 

"Chicago is a union town. But in Mitts’ ward–and among many poor blacks–some unions rank only a couple of notches above the Ku Klux Klan. Black leaders in Chicago have repeatedly charged that the building-trades unions, traditionally controlled by whites, are keeping a grip on jobs. While 37% of Chicago is black, only 10% of all new apprentices in the construction trades between 2000 and 2003 were black, according to the Chicago Tribune." 

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.


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