Saturday, February 07, 2009

Girl Power: Employment and Higher Education

Catherine Rampell at the NY Times has been writing and blogging about gender and job losses, or what some have called the "man-cession" or "male recession" or "lipstick economy" of 2008-2009. I've posted about this topic here and here.

Here are some new graphs to help understand what's going on.

For workers 25 years and older, the BLS reports unemployment by educational attainment, and the chart below shows the monthly jobless rates for workers with no high school degree vs. workers with a bachelor's degree or higher from 1998 to 2009. For January 2009, the jobless rate for workers without a high school degree was 12% and the jobless rate for college graduates was 3.8%, meaning that the jobless rate for college graduates was 8.2% below the rate for workers with no high school. Without seasonal adjustment, the rate for college grads (4.1%) is actually 10.3% below the rate for workers without high school degrees (14.4%).

The graph below shows the difference in jobless rates between the two groups of workers. From 1998 to about 2007, the gap between the two groups ranged between -5% to -6%, meaning that the jobless rate for college grads was 5 to 6% below the rate for workers without a high school degree. Over the last year or so, the gap has widened, to the point now (Jan. 2009) where the jobless rates for college grads (3.8%) is MORE than 8% below the rate for workers without a high school degree (12%). That gap is the largest since the early 1990s in the aftermath of the 1990-1991 recession.


What does that have to do with the "gender and jobs" issue?

Check out the graph below, which shows the percentage of college degrees for men vs. women from 1969-2016 using data from the Department of Education (see previous CD post about this here). Before 1981, men received more bachelor's degrees than women, and in every year since then women have received more bachelor's degrees than men. In the most recent year for which actual data are available (2005-2006), 135 women received bachelor's degrees for every 100 men, and that F:M bachelor’s degree ratio is expected to increase to 150:100 by 2016. By 2016, women will receive 60% of bachelor's degrees vs. 40% for men.

Bottom Line: Women (men) are getting an increasing (decreasing) share of college degrees, and the gap between jobless rates for college grads vs. workers without a high school degree has been widening for the last year. Those two trends could help explain why: a) 82% of the job losses over the last year have been jobs held by males, and b) the gap between the male jobless rate (8.3%) and female jobless rate (6.7%) widened to 1.6% in January, the largest male-female jobless rate gap in BLS history (back to 1948).

3 Comments:

At 2/07/2009 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sexist, racist, bigots are already out at that NYT posting.

White male Christians need not apply.

Interesting and provocative post, Mr Perry.

Avoidance of the issue seems to be the preferred method by those that claim to care about equality and diversity.

 
At 2/07/2009 3:03 PM, Blogger lineup32 said...

Industries impacted by layoffs have been in manufacturing and and construction both dominated by men.
Healthcare & education have not suffered large scale layoffs and are dominated by women.

 
At 3/09/2009 3:36 PM, Anonymous Rosa said...

Exactly, our economic downturn has affected male dominated industries more than it has those industries dominated by women. Actually , I just watched a video about this: http://www.newsy.com/.

 

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