The chart above displays monthly employment levels by gender back to 2002, and the shaded area highlights the job picture from December 2007 (the start of the recession) through September 2010. As of last month, total U.S. employment is still 6.78 million jobs below the level when the recession started. Of those jobs lost, 4.66 million, or 68.7% of the total, were jobs held by men, and 2.12 million were jobs lost by women, or 31.3% of all jobs lost. In other words, for every 100 jobs lost by women since the start of the recession in late 2007, men have lost an astonishing 219 jobs. That's one reason that the last few years are known as "The Great Mancession of 2008-2009."
The gender differences in unemployment rates during the “Great Mancession” tell a similar story of disproportionate economic hardship for men. In the chart below, the monthly differences in jobless rates by gender are displayed back to 1948, and illustrate the unprecedented adverse effects on men in recent years. During the last three recessions (1981-82, 1990-91 and 2001), the male jobless rate also exceeded the female jobless rate, but only by about 1% on average at the peaks. In contrast, during the most recent recession, the “jobless rate gender gap” reached an historically unprecedented high (in either direction) of 2.7% in favor of women in August 2009 (11% male jobless rate vs. 8.3% female), and has decreased over the last year to 1.9 percent last month (10.5% for men vs. 8.6% for women). Even at 1.9%, the current jobless rate gap in favor of women is still about twice the maximum jobless rate gaps favoring female workers during the last three recessions, and indicates that the Great Mancession continues.
Bottom Line: The empirical evidence is clear and undeniable: men suffered much more than women during the Great Mancession and they continue to bear a disproportionate share of the job losses compared to women (by more than 2:1), and remain unemployed at jobless rates that are almost 2 percent higher than female workers.
And yet, the National Economic Council released a report today (“Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women
”) “on the impact of the recession on women and how the Obama administration’s economic policies benefit American women. The report lays out the economic landscape facing women today and details some of the many ways the administration is committed to making sure the government is working for all Americans especially American women.”