USPS Job Cuts Hurt Black Middle Class

African-Americans who found job security at the U.S. Post Office now find their positions threatened as the government agency cuts workers.

Posted: 01/22/2013 09:35 AM EST

The U.S. Post Service has traditionally been a place for African-Americans to find work and keep work. The postal service opened employment to Blacks in 1865, during the Reconstruction era, and they currently hold 20 percent of post office jobs nationally.

But now that the government agency has lost $15.9 million in 2012, these jobs that many African-Americans relied on to live a middle class lifestyle will no longer exist.

Reuters reports how the job losses will affect Black postal service workers:

African-Americans make up about 20 percent of U.S. Postal Service workers — and are the majority in some urban centers, representing 75 percent to 80 percent of the 5,000 letter carriers in the Chicago area, according to Mack Julion, president of the Chicago branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

But the public sector has cut nearly 600,000 jobs since 2009, due to shrinking government budgets and a range of other issues, according to the Bureau of Labor Relations. The slower recovery for African-Americans in the labor market has, in part, been the result of government layoffs after the end of the recession was declared, according to the DOL report. In December, the black unemployment rate was 14 percent, roughly double that of whites.

While some other sectors of the economy are seeing recovery, the biggest problems may be just beginning for the Post Office, the nation's second-largest civilian employer after Wal-Mart with about 536,000 career workers.

Read the full story here.

 

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 (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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