Who'll Get the Boot? - Black Enterprise

Who’ll Get the Boot?


Short of men leaping from buildings on Wall Street and children selling apples roadside, the rippling of the economy is taking a dramatic toll on Americans. The tumult hit close to home when a friend, a recent college graduate, who just made her entrance into corporate America just missed a round of layoffs at her company. While we both breathed a sigh of relief last night, she began updating her resume just in case. After all, she only had four days seniority over her colleagues who were let go.


In all of Sen. Barack Obama and John McCain‘s plans and proposals to fix the weak economic system, noticeably absent is any talk of job security. Their original platforms sought to boost an economy that was already in a slump from the Bush Administration, but, in light of the banking crisis and 810,000 jobs being stripped from the economy in August — and more likely to go in coming months — neither candidate has mentioned how they would stem the tide of impending layoffs.


But, it all led me to think: Are younger people more or less susceptible to layoffs than their older counterparts? Does the adage “last hired, first fired” still apply? Do younger people have a greater advantage in the job market now than say their peers 20 or 30 years ago?


William Spriggs, Howard University economics professor and Black Enterprise Board of Economists member made it perfectly clear that the last thing he’d like to do is be a recent graduate in today’s economy. “In current markets younger workers are at a huge disadvantage. Every month there are 175,000 new entrants into the labor force.” He added, however, “in the last eight months we weren’t doing any hiring.”


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate is 6.1%. The unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 rose to 10.5% in August, up from 8.4% the same time last year. The unemployment rate for people aged 35 to 44 rose less than one-and-a-half percentage points to 4.9%.