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Employment By Race: The Employment-to-Population Ratio For Blacks vs. Whites Has Changed

In the over 50 years that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been keeping track, the share of Black Americans who are employed has consistently been…

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In the over 50 years that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been keeping track, the share of Black Americans who are employed has consistently been lower than the share of white Americans with paid jobs. This changed briefly for the first time ever in March of 2023. That month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a greater percentage of Black Americans employed than white Americans. What explains this reversal and what, if anything, does it say about changes in access to employment by race?

The following article by  Valerie Wilson and Aaron Sojourner has been edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) by Lorimer Wilson, Managing Editor of munKNEE.com – Your KEY To Making Money! – for the sake of clarity and brevity to provide a faster and easier read.

The Facts:

  • The employment to population ratio (EPOP) is a core measure of labor market and economic strength. The measure expresses the share of a population employed instead of being not employed — which includes people searching for a job as well as many who are not, such as retirees, homemakers, and college students. In contrast, the unemployment rate looks only at those who are actively seeking work for pay and measures the share of people who have not found employment. The unemployment rate completely ignores retirees, homemakers, college students, and others who are not seeking paid work. Many economists consider the EPOP to be a more consistent or less ambiguous measure of labor market health than the unemployment rate.
  • Since significant changes in the population occur infrequently, a higher EPOP is likely to reflect an actual increase in the level of employment. In contrast, a decline in the unemployment rate does not always signal an improvement in employment conditions as it can occur when people who have not found employment stop seeking work, even if there is not a significant increase in the level of employment. Americans under age 16 and those who are in the military or imprisoned are excluded from calculation of both the unemployment rate and the employment population ratio. Differences in employment population ratios by race can reflect many factors, such as differences in ages, geographies, health, employer discrimination, occupational segregation, prior convictions, and many other factors.
  • In March 2023, Black Americans’ employment to population ratio exceeded that of white Americans for the first time in U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics records that started in 1972. This sparked speculation about whether this signaled a meaningful shift toward greater racial equity in the labor force. Subsequent data suggest that was something of a blip in the series — monthly labor market statistics for Black Americans are notoriously volatile – rather than a new normal in racial employment trends (see chart). However, Black and white EPOPs coming close enough to even tease the possibility that a higher percentage of the Black population was employed relative to whites is noteworthy. The difference in employment to population ratios between Black and white Americans has narrowed over time. In the last ten years (2014-2023), Black EPOP has averaged 3.1 percentage points lower than white EPOP. The average difference was twice that (6.5 percentage points) in prior decades (1972-2013).
  • The convergence of Black and white EPOPs is partly the result of differences in the age demographics of the two populations. Since the Black population is younger than the white population, a larger share of the working age Black population is under age 50 when people are more likely to work. A larger share of the white population is older and more likely to have stopped working. This racial difference in population age demographics tends to raise Black EPOP and lower white EPOP. If you separate out different age groups, white EPOP is higher than Black EPOP at each age level, suggesting that the narrowing of the gap may not signal as large an increase in employment equity as the shrinkage of the raw EPOP gap might suggest, according to a recent analysis. If each age-by-race group’s employment rate is kept fixed at its observed level but the age distribution of Black Americans is shifted to match whites’ age distribution, then Black Americans would have an employment to population ratio about 8 percent lower than white Americans.
  • However, the dramatic jobs recovery since the pandemic recession has been especially favorable to Black workers and this has contributed to the most recent narrowing in the employment to population ratios. The difference in employment to population ratios between Black and white Americans has averaged only 1 percentage point over the most recent 12 months. An important contributing factor is that the current economic recovery has been particularly beneficial to Black men. Black men have historically had a much lower employment to population ratio than white men, averaging 10.6 percentage points lower since 1972. What’s noteworthy about the current narrowing of the Black-white EPOP gap is that faster EPOP growth for Black men relative to white men has significantly narrowed the difference among men to an average of 4.5 percentage points in the last year and a half. (The Black-white EPOP difference among women is much smaller, and Black women’s EPOP often exceeds that of white women in tight labor markets.) While these gains represent positive improvements, they must also be weighed against the issue of undercounting of the Black population and the disproportionate share of incarcerated Black men who are excluded from the BLS survey data sample of the “civilian, non-institutionalized population.”
  • So what, if anything, do these observations say about racial equity and the persistence of labor market discrimination? While Black workers made notable gains and narrowed differences in employment with white workers during the pandemic recovery, there is consistent and persistent evidence that Black job seekers encounter greater difficulties in being hired than white job seekers. The unemployment rate tells us about the difficulty finding employment among those in the labor force, including the employed and those actively seeking work. The unemployment rate for Black workers tends to be twice that of white workers and this is true throughout the business cycle, at nearly every level of education, across age cohorts and for women and men. In other words, Black workers are twice as likely as white workers to be stuck in job search mode rather than earning at any point in time. Black and white Americans differ in many ways besides race. However, the gap between unemployment rates is not much explained by differences in age, education, marital status, or state of residence. Experiments show that potential employers are less likely to call back Black applicants who have the same or better credentials as white applicants (see here and here).
  • In addition to differences in hiring, the burden of job loss and unemployment also falls disproportionately on Black workers. A new crop of studies that follow workers over time reveal vast inequality in workers’ labor market experiences over their careers (see here and here). About 4 in 5 workers enjoy very stable employment over decades rarely getting laid off or being trapped in unemployment. In contrast, a small group suffers very unstable employment and suffers most of the economy’s unemployment, with 6 times higher job turnover rates and 10 times more months spent unemployed. White Americans disproportionately belong to the first group and Black Americans to the second (see here).

What this Means:

Tight labor markets are important because they tend to draw in more marginally attached workers. In tight labor markets when labor supply is limited, employers have less discretion to discriminate. Ensuring that the Fed takes its responsibility to ensure full employment seriously alongside its responsibility to ensure price and financial stability will go a long way to promoting the tight labor markets that pressure employers to equalize opportunities. Innovation and additional investment in enforcing American workers’ rights to freedom from employers’ racial discrimination could help equalize opportunity. During the first two years of the Biden administration, the federal government made large, long-term commitments to invest in American transportation and energy infrastructure and in our manufacturing sector through the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the CHIPS & Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. These investments are expected to support nearly 3 million jobs annually over the next 10 years, according to White House estimates. This boom in demand for American workers especially benefits those with less formal education who had been losing ground in the economy for decades.

 

 

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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