Male Workers Still Outnumber Women 52% to 48%
The New York Times reports today that "Women Now a Majority in American Workplaces":
For the first time in recorded history, women outnumber men on the nation’s payrolls. This benchmark is bittersweet, as it comes largely at men’s expense. Because men have been losing their jobs faster than women, the downturn has at times been referred to as a “man-cession.”
Women’s new majority in the nation’s workplaces comes decades after women first began trading in their aprons for pantsuits in droves, and it reinforces expectations that women will continue on the path to pay parity.
“Important milestones remain to be achieved, but women’s surpassing 50 percent of employment is something that historians will note for years to come,” said Casey B. Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago who has been tracking the recession’s effects on both sexes.
1. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the percent of women on nonfarm payrolls in January was 49.9% (see Table B-5 of the BLS report), so women were not a majority on a seasonally adjusted basis.
2. More importantly, the nonfarm payroll data excludes almost 9 million American workers including the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers, who are all included in the more comprehensive household survey. The two charts above shows employment levels and employment shares by gender, using the BLS monthly household survey data back to 1948.
The top chart shows historical employment levels by gender (household survey), and for January 2010, there were almost 7 million more men employed than women: 72,516,000 men vs. 65,817,000 women. The bottom chart displays employment shares by gender and shows that men held 52.42% of all jobs in January.
3. Gender parity by employment level/share really doesn't have anything to do with gender parity for pay, since even with employment gender parity there will still be gender differences in hours worked, career choices, family roles, career interruptions, etc.
4. For women's jobs to come at the expense of men's jobs requires a fictitious labor market with a fixed number of jobs, so the writer has committed the "fixed pie fallacy." As Milton Friedman reminds us, “Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”