Women lost more jobs in economic recovery
Share with others:
The recent recession was often referred to as the "Mancession," as men lost jobs at a much higher rate than women with the decimation of work in manufacturing and construction.
Now we may want to start calling the recovery the "Mancovery."
"As men have gained a few jobs, women have lost them," said Heather Boushey, an economist with Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.
Men were hit hardest by unemployment during the catastrophic months of late 2008 and early 2009, when the nation was shedding more than 500,000 jobs a month. While women fared better then, layoffs are now hitting sectors that hire many women -- fields such as teaching, retail, health and government -- creating an odd form of gender equality.
Nationally, men have gained 746,000 jobs since the recovery began in July 2009. Women have lost 211,000 jobs during the same period.
"For women, this is one of the worst recoveries," Ms. Boushey said.
The Mancession was also a misnomer in some ways because while men faced the brunt of the early job losses, women got closer in the number of jobs lost than they ever had in the past.
"It used to be the case in the '80s and '90s that women did not experience as much job loss as men," Ms. Boushey said.
In the 1991 recession, men lost 98.2 percent of the jobs. In the 2001 recession, men lost 86 percent of the jobs. And in the most recent recession, men lost 70 percent of the jobs before the economy officially bottomed out.
Locally, women are still losing jobs.
Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, said both statewide and in the Pittsburgh area, "We are seeing positive growth for men and negative growth for women."
One of the reasons, he said, is that women tend to be segregated into certain employment sectors. Overall, 57 percent of women in the state are concentrated in just three employment sectors: education, health and social services; wholesale and retail trade; and public sector jobs. Many of those jobs are at risk as the federal, state and local governments cut back on spending.
"Women are the majority of state and local workers," Ms. Boushey said.
For instance, just last week Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane announced she would cut half of the central office's $73.9 million budget in part by eliminating about 100 staff positions and possibly cutting teaching staff in 2012 -- jobs that are for the most part held by women -- as the district confronts a $68 million to $100 million shortfall.
District spokesman Craig Kwiecinski said it is impossible to speculate at this point whether men or women will be more affected by the cuts, but of the 4,700 full-time employees in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, 3,300, or 70 percent, are women.
Those cuts will have reverberating effects through the community, said Ms. Boushey, the Washington, D.C., economist.
That's because the cuts won't only hurt the people who lose their jobs but the people who are served by those who lose their jobs.
For instance, she said, if after-school programs lose their funding, not only are the workers affected, but the families who depend on those workers.
"You're kind of sticking it to middle-class families and sticking it to the families right below middle class," she said. "It's super tough for families."
The nation is now almost two years into the official recovery, which was determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research to have begun in July 2009.
If that seems too early for the recovery to have started, the same group determined that the recession officially began in December 2007, which was about nine or 10 months before the effects of the recession were felt across the country. The unemployment rate did not peak until October 2009, three months after the official trough.
The job market is considered a lagging indicator of the economy.
First Published May 27, 2011 12:00 am