Friday, December 05, 2008

The 2008 Male Recession? The Gender Jobs Gap


According to today's BLS report, the U.S. economy has lost 2.352 million jobs in the last year (Nov. 2007 to Nov. 2008). Further analysis shows that 82% of the job losses (1.932 million) were jobs held by males, and only 18% of jobs losses (430,000) were jobs held by females (see top chart above). Further, the November unemployment rate for men is 7.2% vs. only 6% for women, and the gap in jobless rates between men and women has been increasing for the last six months (see bottom chart above).

What's going on?

According to this May 2008 BusinessWeek article:

Men have the misfortune of being concentrated in the two sectors that are doing the worst: manufacturing (70% male) and construction (88% male). Women are concentrated in sectors that are still growing, such as education and health care (77% female).

The troubles for the American male worker, while exacerbated by the current slump, are hardly new. The manufacturing sector is in long-term decline, and construction goes through repeated booms and busts. Meanwhile women are graduating from college at higher rates than men. Some analysts even argue that men are less suited than women to the knowledge economy, which rewards supposedly female traits such as sensitivity, intuition, and a willingness to collaborate.

"Men have tended to do better in the hierarchies, following orders and relying on positional power," says Andy Hines, a futurist at the Washington (D.C.) consulting firm Social Technologies, who previously worked for Kellogg and Dow Chemical.

15 Comments:

At 12/05/2008 12:40 PM, Blogger DB said...

What the heck is a futurist? Precisely how does one become a futurist? Does it require a special skill set or unique technology (e.g. solar powered crystal ball)? I learn something new from this blog every day :)

 
At 12/05/2008 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can actually major in "Future Studies" at many colleges. I did not, but I took an "Alternative Futures" class. It was a lot of fun, especially on afternoons when I had spent all day getting baked (in the sun?) out on the commons before class.

 
At 12/05/2008 1:38 PM, Blogger Ironman said...

Somewhat related - here's a little different look at who's impacted by the declining job market by age group.

 
At 12/05/2008 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A service economy is not very useful of you are not generating wealth.

I wonder how long the education scam is going to continue given that many Americans can no longer afford high priced education?

 
At 12/05/2008 1:47 PM, Blogger bobble said...

"Women are concentrated in sectors that are still growing, such as education and health care (77% female)."

nurses and teachers are in demand.

that's good news for you, professor perry. LOL, no wonder your viewpoint on the economy is always so upbeat.

 
At 12/05/2008 1:50 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Wow, the sexism of "female traits" is appalling.

 
At 12/05/2008 2:21 PM, Blogger MikeJ said...

So much for "Underestimated Strength of The Economy?"

If you are watching the a congressional hearings I think we can agree that they are underestimating the weakness in the economy.

 
At 12/05/2008 3:19 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I can't find the involuntary part-time employment data broken out by gender, but I'd bet that it's disproportionately female, because women are more likely to be in retail and service jobs where hours get get cut before people get laid off.

 
At 12/05/2008 4:26 PM, Blogger DB said...

"It was a lot of fun, especially on afternoons when I had spent all day getting baked (in the sun?) out on the commons before class."

hahahahahahaha

 
At 12/05/2008 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much for that Wage Gap...

 
At 12/05/2008 5:47 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Here's a choice quote:

"Most jobs so affected will be entry level positions at the small business level. Nationally, these individuals of ages 15 through 24 will account for the vast majority of the ranks of the unemployed."


Okayyyyy, would you prefer that 25+ workers should lose these minimum wage jobs instead?

 
At 12/05/2008 5:51 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous said:

"I wonder how long the education scam is going to continue given that many Americans can no longer afford high priced education?"


The education scam can continue a very long time. A growing number of low-wage jobs are being filled by college graduates - at my last minimum wage job, approx 20 percent of our employees (all of whom were paid within 20 cents of minimum wage) had college degrees.

 
At 12/06/2008 12:18 PM, Anonymous Kyle Bennett said...

Flip that second graph upside down, don't label it, and you could pass it off as a graph of the riskiest 50% of investments against the least risky 50% of investments.

Being male has higher rewards in the marketplace, but also higher risk. Men are generally more tolerant of risk, and more ambitious in their economic activities. Men went out and hunted things that could kill him, women gathered roots and berries. It makes sense in evolutionary terms, once a man helps make the babies, he's more expendable to their survival, but his ability to bring home the sabre-tooth-tiger bacon gives those babies the best chance to thrive. Like any balanced portfolio, the nuclear family needs a balanced diversification of risks.

 
At 12/13/2008 3:53 AM, Blogger Jason said...

I can't remember the last time I laughed as hard as I just have after reading the comments here...thx guys.

"What the heck is a futurist?" AND

"It was a lot of fun, especially on afternoons when I had spent all day getting baked (in the sun?) out on the commons before class."

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHHAHAH

 
At 12/13/2008 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Supposedly' female traits are valuable in the knowledge economy?

I'm not an expert on gender traits, like 'some analysts' might be. Do you have any proof for the idea that men work less effectively than women in a looser organization? Or that rigid hierarchy is a bad thing in a knowledge economy?

I work in telecoms, on the infastructure construction side. We have a fairly complex hierachy across our parent company and various contractors and clients, and I don't think that's a bad thing, or anything that's going to go away. The knowledge economy needs telecoms as much as anything, as well as people who can build and maintain the networks. Men are doing fine in this industry, and we are as collaborative, intuitive and sensitive as we need to be to get the job done.

In short, you can shove your idea of 'sensitivity, intuition, and a willingness to collaborate' being female traits up your arse.

Also, why use different scales for male and female employment in the first graph? The numbers are not that different. Oh, is it because then we'd see that there's still 1,000,000 more men working than women, and your point wouldn't make sense?

 

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