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Credit: City of Rochester


A new study shows racial income and employment gaps hurt all of us.

PolicyLink‘s report indicates metro areas could add billions of dollars to their economies if people of color earned the average wages of white people.

In Rochester, 22 percent of the population was made up of racial minorities in 2010. Our GDP would go up 9 percent – about $4 billion if inequality was reduced. In Rochester, most of the racial income gap is due to unemployment – 66 percent, meaning minorities have higher jobless rates. The rest is due to wage differences, meaning minorities earn less money.

Why is this happening? PolicyLink says:

Lack of access to high-quality education at all levels, from preK to college, accounts for a large portion of differences in employment and income by race, but does not fully explain the gap. Broader economic trends—a dearth of job opportunities overall, fewer “middle-skill” jobs that offer path ways to good careers for people without four-year college degrees, and stagnant and declining wages in the growing low-wage sector where people of color are overrepresented—play a role. Racial discrimination in hiring, promotions, and wages, and barriers to employment related to immigration status, criminal records, and lack of reliable transportation factor in as well.

What do we do now? PolicyLink has some suggestions:

1. Create new good jobs.

2. Raise the floor on low-wage work.

3. Strengthen schools and job training programs.

The authors say focusing on this issue is imperative, as people of color will make up the majority of the population in the United State in the coming years. Focusing on inequality could help everyone.


Help Me Reach My Goal – And Help Women In Need!


I’m the honorary chairperson of an event Sunday that will help women and girls climb out of poverty and be economically self-sufficient. The Women’s Foundation of the Genesee Valley is holding its first 5k and Walk. The Women’s Foundation gives grants to groups that provide job training, financial literacy classes and other kinds of support to help women get on their feet – and stay there. Thanks to readers of this blog, I’m not too far from my goal of raising $1,000. Will you consider even a small donation of $5? Thank you!


Links of the Day:


– Compensation has shrunk for all income groups, except at the very highest levels, writes Brighton’s David Cay Johnston.

– Cars remain king – and a barrier to economic opportunity.

– Developers keep building in Victor, even though the Rochester region’s population is not growing. This is sprawl with no growth.

– Rochester will not be getting its own billion under Cuomo.

– The sometimes strange relationship between the Clintons and the Cuomos.

– A girl scalded by coffee at a Buffalo Denny’s won a $500,000 settlement.

– “It comes down to Pittsford not wanting tattooed people in their town.”

3 Responses to How Rochester Could Increase GDP

  1. October 24, 2014 at 11:49 am theodore kumlander responds:

    we live right next to the Ballerina Court site and it is going to be a real mess 71 homes means 142 more cars everyday on a road that can not handle the traffic it already has. The good news is Ballerina court is right across the road from the New Sewage Treatment plant, so at least we can handle the extra waste. 🙂

  2. October 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm Peter Farrell responds:

    I have often wondered if there have ever been any reasonable, realistic, studies done to determine exactly how to fix the education inequality problems? How do you force students and their parents to perform better? How do you change the home? There seems to be a cycle here that cannot be easily broken without a total collapse. Does feeding folks well, giving folks money for living expenses, providing affirmative action type advantages, etc. increase performance at all?
    I live in the city. I am concerned with the future of all of these little ones. (I am not a teacher nor the spouse of a teacher 🙂 I really believe the school district provides adequate education – it’s the home that handicaps the students from ever getting “out”. What can any government agency do to change that? Give good money to families with above average grades?
    I know you live this type of stuff based on your blog, which I enjoy. I am very interested in reading your thoughts on this.
    Kind Regards,
    Peter Farrell

  3. I can’t believe what I am reading. Let’s see if I understand this correctly. An organization, called PolicyLink, thinks if EVERYBODY in a community earned more pay, then you would have a thriving community. If EVERYONE had a high paying job, then there would be no poor people. If employers would hire minorities instead of white people, then we would have a happy, thriving community. Gee, that sounds good, why don’t we do just that. I have a few thoughts as to why. First, the USA was built by the concept of equal opportunity and hard work will result in just rewards. Somehow, we have become a nation of welfare and social service rewards in lieu of hard work. Second, let’s talk about jobs. How many jobs do you think are a result of social services? These ARE our jobs. If there were no poor, there are a whole lot of unemployed social workers ( as well as a whole lot of Democrat politicians ). Now, if you really want to have our community thrive, you have policies in place to encourage hard work and self sufficiency. You have stricter policies on handouts. This should encourage the freeloaders to move elsewhere. There will always be those that truly need a helping hand. I believe everyone wants to help those that truly need it. We will then have that thriving community that you describe. ( is that $140k salary that Adam McFadden received count as a goal of PolicyLink?)

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