Racial disparity in Oregon unemployment

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New data from the Oregon Employment Department indicates a major racial disparity in the state's unemployment rates.

During 2012, the average unemployment rate for whites in Oregon was 8.7 percent. For Latinos, it was 11.4 percent. And for African Americans, it was 18.4 percent. That's close to a ten-percentage gap between Oregon's white and black job-seekers.

Michael Alexander of the Urban League of Portland says he's concerned about making sure the economic recovery is equitable. "Is there anybody within the greater Portland community or even the overall state, who would look at the disparity in those numbers, during a period when we're going through some recovery, and be comfortable with it?"

Read more at OPB.

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Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

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Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

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