Gender and the Recession

A woman is now the primary breadwinner in millions of families across the United States because her husband has lost his job. Three out of four jobs lost during our Great Recession, which began in December 2007, have been men’s jobs. This has left women to support their families nationwide—a task made more challenging since women typically earn only 78 cents compared to the male dollar.

Men have lost more jobs than women because the industries with the largest jobs losses so far during the recession have been ones dominated by men. New Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Establishment Survey data for March 2009 shows that since the recession began men have lost 75.0 percent of all nonfarm jobs and 72.7 percent of all private-sector jobs.

Women have become a larger share of payroll employees. As of March 2009, the latest data available, women made up nearly half the labor force: 49.7 percent of all workers employed in the United States are women, up from 48.7 percent when the recession began in December 2007.

Looking at data for April 2009 on the share of men and women at work, we see that the share of men with a job is lower than it has ever been before: Only 68.1 percent of adult men have a job, down 4.4 percentage points from when the recession began. Among adult women, 56.8 percent had a job in April, down 1.3 percentage points since the recession began. The unemployment rate for adult men was 9.4 percent in April—more than double what it was in December 2007—while adult women’s unemployment was 7.1 percent in April. The male unemployment rate is now 2.3 percentage points higher than women’s, larger than at any other time since 1949.

Women are also less likely than men to be unemployed in married families. The unemployment rate for married men, at 6.3 percent, is higher than at any time since 1983, while the unemployment rate for married women is 5.5 percent, the highest since 1986. Among women maintaining families, unemployment is at 10.0 percent.


3 thoughts on “Gender and the Recession

  1. I can imagine, that the lower cost of the women’s work is more attractive to the employers during the recession. Almost the same situation created during the 1800s, when women first started to work to complete their husbands’ wages because of the decreasing value of the money, but by the end of these years employers realized that the lower costs and the efficiency of women is more competitive, in particular kinds of jobs, than men’s. So they replaced the male labourforce.

  2. These figures that show such a rapid change in the unemployment rate in the last years are quite alarming! But a possible reason for the loss of more mens jobs than womans during this recession is because of the wage difference between men and woman as the companies wish to save as much money as possible so they choose to cut mens jobs over woman as they are the higher paid option but do the same job.
    Maybe once we have surfaced from this current situation in the future there will be a more equal split between men and woman in the work place.

  3. it is true that it enables some competitive advantages in the cost of labour force but the productivity loss as well.And it is a good news that the participation of women in labour market is rising but The difference in USA in comparison to other countries , most of the jobs were tech-based.


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