Posted by: Josh Lehner | May 25, 2021

Oregon Employment: The Parent Gap, and Racial and Ethnic Disparities

During last week’s economic and revenue forecast release, a number of important questions were raised regarding working parents and more details on the racial and ethnic gaps experienced in the economy. Our office’s follow-up research is shown below in the slides.

The upshot is that while clearly the lack of in-person schooling is a major challenge for a lot of families, it’s not really seen in the macro data. Working moms experienced job losses at about the rate as the overall economy. Dads are among the best performing socio-economic groups. On one hand, this is encouraging in that distance learning is not holding back the recovery as much as first thought. On the other hand we just went through a global pandemic and shutting down schools “only” meant families had to juggle extra to make ends meet. It’s likely not as rosy of a social story as it is an economic one. At this point I’m putting working parents and childcare/schooling in the “it’s always a challenge, and while the pandemic didn’t worsen the situation, it has brought it more into the light” bucket, right there with struggling renters, which I will have an update on next week.

Now, on to the slides. If you’d like to discuss these further, please reach out (email me).

Updated 6/4: Slides are updated to include the latest data, and a couple new slides – one on parents, and one on concentrated wealth by race and ethnicity.


  1. So if I read slide 12, the lowest employment (<50%) is non-college educated black males and the highest employment (for males) is college-educated black males?

    Yet you look at our public schools and black males do the absolute worst (prove me wrong – please) as far as achievement or grad rates and no one cares (at least in the school system – It gets ignored year after year). I'm not going to throw out the r-word, but from above the best tool to break the cycle of poverty is education and no one cares.

    We never learn.

    About the only change I expect is the teacher's union will fight reporting achievement scores and grad rates to avoid any scrutiny.

    • You are reading those charts correctly. Now, we are working with smaller sample sizes in Oregon when dissecting by race, age, and sex but the broader patterns hold over time. In the post linked below, what it shows in terms of the Black-white education gaps for prime working-age men is it’s not about attending high school or attending college — people do that at the same rate — but rather its about graduating. That’s where the gaps occur.

      Economic Disparities, an Ongoing Discussion

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