Are men in the job market being hit harder in this recession than in previous economic downturns?
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that 85,000 jobs were lost in the United States for the month of December 2009, an unexpectedly high number that kept the unemployment rate at a steady 10 percent.
Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the data have shown that men are losing jobs at a higher rate than women. This has led to the popular use of the term “mancession” to describe the current economic downturn.
But is the term “mancession” really an accurate characterization of what’s going on?
According to Howard J. Wall, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, this recession appears to be more or less like any other in terms of job losses between the sexes.
During the 2001 recession, for example, men accounted for 78 percent of jobs lost, the same percentage seen between December 2007 and the first quarter of 2009.
“n terms of job losses, the current recession has hit men in roughly the same proportion as did the previous recession, but by a much smaller proportion than during earlier recessions,” Wall writes.
In other words, it could be argued that women in the job market are more affected by this recession than during previous downturns, since men are experiencing job losses at a lower rate this time around.
Furthermore, unemployment numbers track people who are out of work, but still looking for a new position. Since more men are unemployed and searching for jobs, they will likely find new positions in greater numbers than women as the economy recovers, according to University of Chicago economics professor Casey B. Mulligan.
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(Originally posted 00:15 GMT on Jan. 09, 2010.)