Race, States, and the Mixed Fate of White Men

By: Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Eric Hoyt

Executive Summary
  1. White men have advantaged access to high paying white and blue collar jobs in most states. 
  2. This advantage for upper and middle class jobs strengthens in states with larger minority workforces. 
  3. In contrast, for working class jobs, White men face considerable employment competition from minority men in these same states with large minority workforces.
  4. White men’s advantages are weaker, and sometimes absent, in occupations that require educational certification. Educational requirements favor women’s employment.
  5. In every state, except for Utah and Washington, White women are more likely to be found in professional jobs than White men.
  6. Only in mostly white states are White men disproportionally employed in low paid occupations. In these states, better educated White women are White men’s competition for better working class jobs.

     

There has been a great deal of popular speculation that White men are threatened by the advance of women and minorities in schools and workplaces. Serious national analyses have continuously demonstrated that this is not the case for earnings or employment, although it increasingly is for educational attainment

Less attention has been paid to which White men might be facing employment competition from other groups and where. People and jobs are stratified by class and place as well as by gender and race. Seen through the lens of class stratification and local labor markets, any statement that lumps all White men, or all women or all minorities, together is likely to be wrong. 

What we find is that White men’s advantaged access to middle and upper class jobs is largest in states with large minority populations. In those same states working class White men face substantial labor market competition from minority men. Prior research shows that it is these working class White men who are the racially resentful and most opposed to further immigration and who were particularly receptive to anti-elite, anti-immigrant and racial political messages

Educated White men benefit from growing minority labor forces, working class White men do not. That these working class men are resentful of elites is not then surprising. 

In this report we explore the diversity of White men’s access to different class positions in the occupational structure of medium and large private sector firms. The medium and large private sector is the heart of the U.S. economy in terms of both employment and earnings potential. It is also this group of firms that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is particularly tasked with monitoring for discrimination.

Discrimination is a difficult process to document; our goals are more modest. We explore variation across U.S. states in different groups’ access to occupational class locations. This variation can be produced by a variety of factors, including contemporary discrimination, past discrimination with previous employers, race and gender differences in access to good quality education, migration and incarceration patterns, and job preferences. In general, people who gain access to upper and middle class jobs have a set of family and personal history, social network and labor market advantages that aid their access to the best jobs.

At the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Employment Equity, we have been developing a searchable database to allow journalists, social scientists, policy makers, and the public at large to explore the facts behind diversity discussions for their states, cities and industries. At Diversity Analytics it is now possible to query the actual demographic diversity of various occupations among the medium and large private sector firms that form the core of the US economy. We use data collected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from private sector firms with more than 100 employees (50 if federal contractors) and compare employment diversity in these workplaces to the available labor force in their states. 

The EEOC collects occupational data from firms using ten broad occupational categories: executives, entry-level and middle managers, professionals, skilled technicians, administrative and clerical, sales, skilled crafts and trades, machine operators, laborers, and service workers (Appendix 1 gives definitions and examples of these occupations). These correspond roughly to common class distinctions between upper (executives), middle (managers and professionals), and working class jobs. Working class jobs can be further classified into skilled (technicians and craft & trade), manual (operatives, laborers, and service), and intermediate (administrative and sales). Administrative and sales being defined less by skill and more by gender and customer. Table 1 describes these occupations in terms of their national average earnings, education, and white male employment.

 

Table 1. Annual Earnings, Education, and White Male Composition for 10 EEOC Occupational Categories, Full-time Year-round Workers.

Occupations

Average Annual Earnings in 2015 Dollars

Percent Above $15/hour

Average Years of Education

Percent

White men

Executives

155,586

89.9

15.7

65.5

Managers

78,158

 

82.6

14.9

43.5

Professionals

71,035

 

82.0

16.3

31.3

Technicians

48,922

72.6

14.0

28.9

Sale Workers

46,204

47.7

13.5

37.4

Administrative Support Workers

34,543

51.6

13.4

16.5

Skilled Trade and Craft Workers

45,416

68.3

12.2

66.2

Machine Operatives

37,131

51.4

12.0

46.8

Labors and Helpers

27,288

35.1

11.2

43.9

Service Workers

23,390

27.9

12.3

19.5

Note: Sample is 5,683,567 full-time, year-round, aged 16 to 65 workers from the American Community Survey cumulative file 2011-2015. 

Average earnings are highest among executives, relatively high among managers, and professionals and then drop substantially for the working class occupations. Similarly, almost all upper and middle class occupations pay above the $15/hour goal of the Fight for Fifteen movement. More than two-thirds pay above this living wage threshold among skilled working class occupations. Other working class occupations include a substantial component of jobs that pay less than a living wage.  

Average education is consistently highest among professionals, lower among executives and managers, and lower still in working class occupations. Among working class occupations technicians, sales, and administrative/clerical occupations tend to average a year or two beyond high school (12 years). As we will see below, occupations that require higher levels of education also tend to have more women in them.

Both executives (the top of the white-collar job ladder) and skilled craft and trade jobs (the best working class jobs) are dominated by White men. Consistent with what we know nationally about earnings and education trends, the general national pattern is that White men are more commonly in higher paid occupations, particularly if they do not require high levels of education. 

 

Table 2. Demographic Composition for 10 EEOC Occupational Categories, National Estimates for Full-time Year-round Workers.

Occupations

White men (%)

White women

(%)

Black men

(%)

Black women

(%)

Hispanic men

(%)

Hispanic women

(%)

Asian men

(%)

Asian women

(%)

Other Men

(%)

Other Women

(%)

Executives

 65.5

 19.7

 2.0

 1.3

 3.8

 1.5

 3.5

 1.0

 1.0

 0.6

Managers

 43.5

 31.6

 3.4

 4.5

 5.2

 4.1

 3.2

 2.3

 1.1

 1.1

Professionals

 31.3

 41.6

 2.9

 5.6

 3.2

 4.5

 4.6

 4.1

 1.0

 1.3

Technicians

 28.9

 40.4

 3.6

 7.9

 4.5

 5.4

 3.5

 3.3

 1.1

 1.5

Sales

 37.4

 31.5

 3.8

 5.9

 6.6

 7.6

 2.5

 2.2

 1.1

 1.3

Administrative, Clerical

 16.5

 49.6

 3.9

 9.0

 4.6

 10.1

 1.3

 2.4

 0.7

 1.9

Craft and Skilled Trade

 66.2

 2.7

 5.9

 0.5

 19.8

 0.7

 1.8

 0.2

 2.1

 0.1

Machine Operatives

 46.8

 11.7

 10.1

 4.0

 15.4

 6.0

 2.6

 1.4

 1.7

 0.5

Labors and Helpers

 43.9

 7.1

 8.5

 1.3

 31.2

 3.9

 1.4

 0.3

 2.0

 0.3

Service

 19.5

 32.3

 6.3

 10.6

 10.1

 12.8

 2.3

 3.1

 1.3

 1.8

Note: Sample is 5,683,567 full-time, year-round, age 16 to 65 workers from the American Community Survey cumulative file 2011-2015.

Black and Hispanic men are concentrated in working class jobs, with Hispanic men being particularly likely to be found in skilled crafts and trades.  Minority men are more likely than minority women to be found in executive, managerial, and skilled craft and trade occupations.

These are national snapshots and miss the substantial regional variation in the array of jobs available as well as the composition of the labor force. At the same time, there is demographic heterogeneity within these occupations. In researching this report, we wondered: were specific states in which White men lose their average national social class advantages?

From a market perspective, one might reason for this loss of advantage might be more competition from women and minority candidades for desirable jobs in certain states. Conversely, some social scientists have speculated that larger minority or female labor forces may tend to push White men up in the employment structure.[1] In what follows, we explore variation across the fifty states and the District of Columbia in White men’s relative access to these occupational roles in the EEOC regulated private sector, paying particular attention to the racial and gender composition of each state’s labor force.

 

Diversity Analytics – State Visualizations

 

Our state visualizations use 2016 EEO-1 employer reports from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These data describe the workplace occupation by race/ethnic/sex employment patterns for firms with more than 100 employees (50 if federal contractors). These workplaces were the original regulatory target of the EEOC when it was founded in 1964 as part of the Civil Rights Act. That act prohibited employment segregation and discrimination on the bases of race, color, ethnicity, national origin and gender in the U.S.

We also use 2011 to 2015 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census to estimate the race and gender composition of each state’s labor force. We use these estimates to calculate whether particular groups are over or under represented in specific occupations in each state relative to their availability in the state’s labor market. 

States vary tremendously in their racial composition and so in order to make state comparisons of access to upper, middle and working class occupations it is necessary to calculate employment relative to labor supply. The Diversity Analytics website permits additional comparisons both between and within states.

Previous research using these EEO-1 reports show that in the 1960s, and as a result of the Civil Rights movement, Black men began to be hired into these medium and large private sector firms, primarily into working class jobs. In the 1970s the same pattern happened for Black and White women, but also all three groups began to get access to both managerial and professional jobs in what was the period of strongest federal regulation of employment discrimination. Progress into managerial jobs for most non-White groups stalled across the 1980s. The same happened to White women across the 1990s.

We begin with an examination of upper and middle class jobs, followed by skilled working class jobs, and conclude with other working class jobs.

 

Executive Occupations: The Upper Class

Relative to their participation in the state’s labor market, White men are overrepresented in executive jobs in every state. Texas has the highest White male executive representation with a 138% greater rate than their availability in the state’s labor force. California (136%), the District of Columbia (126%), New Mexico (121%), and Mississippi (107%) round out the top five states in terms of White men’s advantaged access to executive jobs. At the low-end of the distribution, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana all show White men’s representation in executive positions ranging between roughly 24% and 29% greater than their general labor force proportion. The general pattern is that White men are strongly advantaged in their access to upper class jobs everywhere, but particularly in states with large minority populations. While this pattern is true in every state, Hawaii stands out as the place where, despite a larger minority presence, White men’s advantaged access to executive jobs is relatively weak.

 

While White men have advantaged access to executive jobs in all states, this is a more unusual pattern for other groups. White women are found in executive private sector jobs at higher rates than their general labor force participation in only four places – the District of Columbia, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii – all places with large minority populations. Asian men are most similar to White men in their advantaged access to executive positions relative to their size in state labor markets, and are overrepresented among executives in the majority of states in which they are present.1

 

In almost no states are Asian women or other racial minority men or women employed in executive positions at higher rates than their proportion of the state’s labor force. There is only one exception to this pattern of minority exclusion from the top jobs. In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians are overrepresented in executive positions in medium and large private sector firms.

Like White men, White women’s access to executive jobs is higher in high minority states, but only in a handful of states is this racial advantage strong enough to overcome the more general underrepresentation of all women in upper class jobs.

 

Managers and Professionals: The Middle Classes

Managers oversee the work of other occupations and coordinate tasks within firms and with suppliers and customers. About half of managers have college degrees, but they are primarily defined in terms of their control over systems of production. Professionals, in contrast, tend to have skills associated with specialized college degrees and generally undertake long on-the-job training periods. Both occupational types tend to be well paid, although they earn much less than executives, who have considerably more control over production, capital investment, and other discretionary and strategic decisions.

In all states, White men are overrepresented in first- and mid-level managerial EEOC reporting private sector jobs. As we saw for executive jobs, managerial access for White men tends to be highest in states with large minority populations. California, Texas and New Mexico are in the top five states for White men’s privileged access to both executive and managerial private sector jobs. Hawaii again stands out as the state where White men’s employment advantage in top jobs is weakest.

 

With the exception of Alaska, Asian men also tend to be overrepresented in managerial jobs in a pattern quite similar to their executive employment.

 

Black men are overrepresented in managerial jobs in only three states--Arizona, Kansas, and New Mexico--all places with few Black workers. We found a similar pattern for skilled working class jobs.

 

Hispanic and Native American men are never found in managerial jobs at rates higher than their state labor force proportion.

The District of Columbia stands out for its rough equality in access to managerial jobs between White men and White women. Asian women are slightly overrepresented in managerial jobs in a handful of states, most dramatically in the District of Columbia (57.8%). In two states with very small Black populations – Arizona and Alaska – Black women are slightly overrepresented in Managerial jobs. Other minority women are never over represented in any state’s managerial workforce.

 

The general pattern for managers is quite similar, if less extreme, than the executive pattern. White men have higher access to managerial jobs in all states, and this advantage grows with the size of the minority population. White women get similar advantages in high minority states, but only rarely does this lead to over representation in managerial jobs. When minorities get preferred access to managerial jobs, it tends to be in places where they are relatively rare in the state’s labor force.

Professional jobs tend to require at least a four-year college degree, and also tend to pay fairly high wages (almost as high on average as managers.) The demographic composition of professional occupations in the private sector, however, is quite a bit different than the patterns for managers and executives. In all states, except for Utah and Washington, women are overrepresented in professional jobs. Even in those two states, men are only slightly overrepresented in professional jobs. 

White men are overrepresented in professional jobs in only fourteen states, most dramatically in the District of Columbia (35.7%), New Mexico (31.9%), Texas (21.7%), and California (18.6%). In every state, except for Utah and Washington, White women are more likely to hold professional jobs than are White men in these EEOC reporting private sector firms. The general pattern for both White men and women is their access to professional occupations grows with the size of the minority population.

 

 

Asian men and women are overrepresented in professional jobs in almost all states. The only exceptions are Hawaii and Alaska, where Asian men are slightly underrepresented in professional occupations. Again, Black men and women tend to have higher levels of representation in professional jobs in states with very small Black populations. The leading states for Black women’s professional employment relative to local labor supply are Arizona (48.2%), Nebraska (29.1%), Kansas (19%), Alaska (18.1%), and Oklahoma (14%). Black men, like White men, are less often advantaged in professional jobs, but unlike White men there is not a single state where Black men are overrepresented in professional jobs. Black men and women tend to have the least access to professional occupations in the southern states. Hispanic men and women are underrepresented in professional jobs in all states.

 

 

Skilled Crafts and Trade Occupations: The Old Labor Aristocracy

The skilled crafts typically require high school education and lengthy on-the-job apprenticeship training. On the coasts and in the Midwest they tend to be unionized as well. Men are overrepresented in skilled trade and craft jobs in all states, but their advantaged access to these jobs varies from a high of 92.4% in the District of Columbia to a low of 65.7% in Vermont. 

For skilled craft and trade occupations we find a new set of states where White men’s advantaged access to skilled working class jobs is greatest: Delaware (116%), New York (113.7%), Maryland (106.9%), New Jersey (98.8%), and Rhode Island (95.2%). For White men, overrepresentation in skilled working class jobs is lowest in California (55.5%), Texas (54.8%), Arizona (53.4%), and the District of Columbia (41.7%). Although White men have advantaged access to skilled working class jobs in all but one state (Hawaii), that advantage is weaker where minority populations are larger. This is the opposite pattern to what we observed for upper and middle class occupations.

Hawaii stands out as the only state in which White men are not overrepresented in skilled working class jobs.  All minority men in Hawaii - except for Hispanics - are more likely to be found in skilled craft and trade private sector occupations than are White men. 

There is also a great deal of variation across states as to which types of men are overrepresented in skilled working class jobs.  In almost all states, White men are more likely to be found in skilled trades and craft occupations than are Black men. The exceptions are Utah, North Dakota, and Montana—all predominantly white states--and the District of Columbia and Virginia--both with large black populations. This is in marked contrast to Hispanic men, who in the majority (26 out of 51) of states are more likely relative to population size to hold skilled trade and craft jobs in these private sector firms than are White men. Native American and Native Hawaiian men, who comprise very small proportions of the labor force in all but a handful of states, are also more likely than White men to hold skilled working class jobs in all of the states where they are more than 1% of the labor force. Asian men only rarely (Kansas, Utah, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii) have higher representation in these jobs than do White men. From these data, it appears that White men with only high school degrees compete in many states with Hispanic and in a few states with Native peoples for skilled working class jobs.

 

Technicians: The Some College Working Class

States where men are more likely to hold technician jobs in the private sector include New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, and Arizona. White men are more likely to work in technician jobs in these states as well.   Technician jobs tend to require some community college or other classroom based skill training. These jobs on average pay slightly more than skilled trade and craft jobs. They are also more likely to be held by women in all racial groups, other than Asian. There is a great deal of state variation in the degree to which women’s employment in technical jobs outpaces men’s, probably reflecting the industrial composition of state economies. In all but thirteen states, women are more likely to hold technical jobs than are men. Women’s advantaged access to these credentialed working class jobs is largest in West Virginia, Montana, Arkansas, North Dakota and Nebraska, all rural states with large white populations. The same type of states provides the most access to this type of skilled working class job for White women.

 

Asian and Black women fill these private sector technician jobs at higher rates than White women in many states. The same can be said for Asian and Black men, who are more heavily represented in technician jobs than White men in many states. As we saw for professionals, educational criteria works-- at least in some states--to the advantage of all women and Asian and Black men. White men face substantial competition from women of all races in their access to skilled technician jobs.

Sales Occupations

Sales occupations are fairly heterogeneous, ranging from routine retail check-out work to luxury and durable goods sales.2  On average, sales workers have some college education and are paid at solid middle income levels – slightly lower than technicians and slightly higher than the skilled trades. They also tend to be quite mixed in terms of their gender and racial composition. White men are the most common, at 37% of sales workers nationally, followed closely by White women (33%). Within all races, other than White, women are more likely than men to be in sales. At the same time relative to their representation in the state labor market White men are in every state less likely than Black men to be in sales jobs. The comparisons for White and Hispanic men for sales jobs are much more complex, with no clear pattern across states.

 

Administrative and Clerical Occupations

The various office support occupations tend to have some college and skew disproportionally female. White men are underrepresented in these jobs in all states. This is true of Asian and Hispanic men, with one exception: Asian men are overrepresented in administrative and clerical jobs in Alaska. Black men in contrast are over represented in ten states in these office support jobs. In general these are jobs that few White men compete for.

 

Operatives, Laborers and Service Workers: The Lower Paid, Lower Skill, Working Class Jobs

Operative occupations are defined in terms of operating machines. These include most factory jobs, but also transportation jobs like driving trucks on the highway and forklifts in warehouses. Laborers, in contrast, tend to do physical tasks without much aid from machinery. Both require a high school degree or less, depending on the employer, and tend to pay low wages. Laborers often have higher rates of part-time work as well.

In every state, men are overrepresented among machine operators and laborers, but it is minority men who are likely to be most overrepresented in these manual labor, working class jobs. In all states, Black and Hispanic men are more likely than White men to be hired into laborer jobs. In every state--except West Virginia-- Black and Hispanic men are more likely to hold operative jobs than are White men relative to their labor supply. The same is true for Hispanic men in almost all states. West Virginia is the largest exception, followed by Wyoming. While there is no state where men are less likely than women to hold operative jobs, in the vast majority of states, working class operatives in the private sector are more likely to be Hispanic or Black men than they are to be White men.

 

Again in every state, laborers--the lowest skilled and lowest paid working class occupations--are more likely to be men than women. When we limit the analysis to White men, there are only a few states where White men are overrepresented in laborer jobs. These include Vermont, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, all states with small non-white populations. In contrast, Black and Hispanic men are overrepresented in laborer jobs in every state (except Hispanics in Hawaii). In every state Black and Hispanic men are more likely than White men to be found in Laborer jobs.

In contrast to operatives and laborers, in every state, except the District of Columbia, men are underrepresented in service occupations. In the District of Columbia men are found in service jobs at about the same rate as they are working in the District’s labor market. In every state White men are strongly underrepresented in service occupations in the EEOC reporting private sector. This is not the case for minority men. In seven states, most prominently Alaska (115.1%), Nevada (73.7%), the District of Colombia (56.5%), Utah (16.4%), Hawaii (14%), Washington (8.7%), and Minnesota (0.8%), Asian men are overrepresented in service occupations.

 

This is also the case for Hispanic men in 27 states, most dramatically in the District of Columbia (91%), New Hampshire (89.4%), Minnesota (88.6%), Massachusetts (75.2%), and Alaska (56.2%). Black men are overrepresented in service jobs in every state, except Hawaii. Black and Hispanic women are overrepresented in service jobs in all states except Hawaii. White and Asian women tend to be overrepresented in service jobs only in very white states, presumably because there are too few Black and Hispanic women to fill those low paid, low status roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons

White men tend to dominate the most desirable upper (executives), middle (managers) and traditional skilled working class (skilled trade and craft) occupations. Jobs that require specific educational credentials (professionals and technicians) are disproportionally filled by women of all races. The best jobs tend to go to White men, but requiring educational credentials reduces White men’s advantaged access to the most desirable jobs. Less skilled (operative, laborer, service) and intermediate (sales, administrative) working class jobs tend to be filled by minority men and women.

There is, however, considerable state level variation in these patterns. As a general trend, we find that the larger the presence of minority workers in state labor markets, the greater the advantaged access of White men to executive, managerial and skilled trade jobs. Further down in the class structure with jobs requiring a high school degree or less; however, White men are often competing with minority men for jobs in these medium and large private sector workplaces. It is only in places like Maine and Montana with very small minority populations that we see White men over represented in operative and laborer positions. Service and administrative occupations tend to be dominated by women in all states.

Finally, jobs that require educational credentials are much less likely to show an over representation of White men. In all states White women are more likely than White men to be employed as professionals. There are, however, thirteen states where White men are overrepresented among professionals. These tend to be states with large minority and immigrant populations.

White men’s advantaged access to jobs in the medium and large firm private sector varies considerably across the class structure of jobs and the demographic composition of local labor markets. The best upper, middle, and working class jobs tend to be filled by White men. They face some competition for managerial jobs from White women and Asian men and for skilled working class jobs from Hispanic men. White men’s advantaged access to the best jobs grows the more minorities there are in the local labor force.

White men with only high school degrees face considerable competition from minority men in less skilled working class jobs. It is not surprising that it is these White men who are the most racially resentful and most opposed to further immigration into the U.S.3 White male advantage is not absolute; it is considerably weaker in those working class jobs where they must compete with other groups. The same high minority concentration states that propel some White men into skilled trade, managerial and executive jobs, tends to increase labor market contact and competition of White men with minority men. Jobs with higher educational requirements do the same relative to women, particularly White women.

 

 

Appendix 1

EEOC Occupational definitions. See the EEOC’s website for a list of detailed occupational titles that correspond to these larger groups.

Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers. Individuals who plan, direct and formulate policies, set strategy and provide the overall direction of enterprises/organizations for the development and delivery of products or services, within the parameters approved by boards of directors or other governing bodies. Residing in the highest levels of organizations, these executives plan, direct or coordinate activities with the support of subordinate executives and staff managers. They include, in larger organizations, those individuals within two reporting levels of the CEO. Examples of these kinds of managers are: chief executive officers, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, line of functional areas or operating groups, chief information officers, chief human resources officers, chief marketing officers, chief legal officers, management directors and managing partners.

First/Mid Level Officials and Managers. Individuals who serve as managers, other than those who serve as Executive/ Senior Level Officials and Managers, including those who oversee and direct the delivery of products, services or functions at group, regional or divisional levels of organizations. These managers receive directions from the Executive/Senior Level management and typically lead major business units. They implement policies, programs and directives of executive/senior management through subordinate managers and within the parameters set by Executive/Senior Level management. Examples of these kinds of managers are: vice presidents and directors, Group, regional or divisional controllers; treasurers; human resources, information systems, marketing, and operations managers. The First/Mid Level Officials also includes those who report directly to middle managers. These individuals serve at functional, line of business segment or branch levels and are responsible for directing and executing the day-to-day operational objectives of officials and managers to subordinate personnel and, in some instances, directly supervising the activities of exempt and non-exempt personnel. Examples of these kinds of managers are: first-line managers; team managers; unit managers; operations and production managers; branch managers; administrative services managers; purchasing and transportation managers; storage and distribution managers; call center or customer service managers; technical support managers; and brand or product managers.

Professionals: Occupations requiring either college graduation or experience of such kind and amount as to provide a comparable background. Includes: accountants and auditors, airplane pilots and navigators, architects, artists, chemists, designers, dietitians, editors, engineers, lawyers, librarians, mathematicians, natural scientists, registered professional nurses, personnel and labor relations specialists, physical scientists, physicians, social scientists, teachers, surveyors and kindred workers.

Technicians: Occupations requiring a combination of basic scientific knowledge and manual skill which can be obtained through 2 years of post high school education, such as is offered in many technical institutes and junior colleges, or through equivalent on-the-job training. Includes: computer programmers, drafters, engineering aides, junior engineers, mathematical aides, licensed, practical or vocational nurses, photographers, radio operators, scientific assistants, technical illustrators, technicians (medical, dental, electronic, physical science), and kindred workers.

Sales: Occupations engaging wholly or primarily in direct selling. Includes: advertising agents and sales workers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and brokers, stock and bond sales workers, demonstrators, sales workers and sales clerks, grocery clerks, and cashiers/checkers, and kindred workers.

Office and clerical: Includes all clerical-type work regard-less of level of difficulty, where the activities are predominantly non-manual though some manual work not directly involved with altering or transporting the products is included. Includes: bookkeepers, collectors (bills and accounts), messengers and office helpers, office machine operators (including computer), shipping and receiving clerks, stenographers, typists and secretaries, telegraph and telephone operators, legal assistants, and kindred workers.

Craft Workers (skilled): Manual workers of relatively high skill level having a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the processes involved in their work. Exercise considerable independent judgment and usually receive an extensive period of training.  Includes: the building trades, hourly paid supervisors and lead operators who are not members of management, mechanics and repairers, skilled machining occupations, compositors and typesetters, electricians, engravers, painters (construction and maintenance), motion picture projectionists, pattern and model makers, stationary engineers, tailors and tailoresses, arts occupations, hand painters, coaters, bakers, decorating occupations, and kindred workers.

Operatives (semiskilled): Workers who operate machine or processing equipment or perform other factory-type duties of intermediate skill level which can be mastered in a few weeks and require only limited training. Includes: apprentices (auto mechanics, plumbers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, machinists, mechanics, building trades, metalworking trades, printing trades, etc.), operatives, attendants (auto service and parking), blasters, chauffeurs, delivery workers, sewers and stitchers, dryers, furnace workers, heaters, laundry and dry cleaning operatives, milliners, mine operatives and laborers, motor operators, oilers and greasers (except auto), painters (manufactured articles), photographic process workers, truck and tractor drivers, knitting, looping, taping and weaving machine operators, welders and flamecutters, electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, butchers and meatcutters, inspectors, testers and graders, handpackers and packagers, and kindred workers.

Laborers (unskilled): Workers in manual occupations which generally require no special training who perform elementary duties that may be learned in a few days and require the application of little or no independent judgment. Includes: garage laborers, car washers and greasers, groundskeepers and gardeners, farmworkers, stevedores, wood choppers, laborers performing lifting, digging, mixing, loading and pulling operations, and kindred workers.

Service workers: Workers in both protective and non-protective service occupations. Includes: attendants (hospital and other institutions, professional and personal service, including nurses aides, and orderlies), barbers, charworkers and cleaners, cooks, counter and fountain workers, elevator operators, firefighters and fire protection, guards, door-keepers, stewards, janitors, police officers and detectives, porters, waiters and waitresses, amusement and recreation facilities attendants, guides, ushers, public transportation attendants, and kindred workers.

 

 

[1] We suppress estimates for states in which any group is less than 1% of the state’s labor force to minimize sampling error.

[2] We suspect that it is white men who dominate high end sales jobs.  Recent research suggests that workers earnings rise when they sell to high wealth customers: Wilmers, Nathan. "Does Consumer Demand Reproduce Inequality? High-income Consumers, Vertical Differentiation, and the Wage Structure." American Journal of Sociology 123, no. 1 (2017): 178-231.

[3] Morgan, Stephen L., and Jiwon Lee. "Trump voters and the white working class." Sociological Science 5 (2018): 234-245; Hooghe, Marc, and Ruth Dassonneville. "Explaining the Trump Vote: The Effect of Racist Resentment and Anti-Immigrant Sentiments." PS: Political Science & Politics (2018): 1-7.