Women & Men in the Workplace a New Not So Equal Footing

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med_Pamelas_Mug_copy55It would be an insipid statement to say that exciting things are happening in the world of women entrepreneurs. Women may be the dominant force in small business ownership, and succeeding in industries that were once taboo for women, but the recession has taken a particular toll on men in the workplace, so it’s hard to celebrate in this economic climate.

The percentage of adult American women who are employed climbed from about 37 percent in 1965 to about 55 percent in 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time the percentage of adult American men who are employed, fell from 81 percent in 1965 to 69 percent in 2008.

For every 100 jobs lost by women since January 2008, men have lost 192 jobs.    The share of men in the United States with a job is at its lowest point ever and since the current recession began in December 2007, men have lost the vast majority of jobs. Of the 5.1 million jobs that have vanished, 20 percent have been lost in construction (a larger percentage is expected in Central Oregon), almost entirely by men.

Another 20.6 percent of jobs have been lost in male-dominated manufacturing. Meanwhile, employment in the female-dominated fields of education and health services has increased by 12 percent since the recession began.

But there’s good news as the economy hovers on recovery. From the end of the recession in June 2009 through May 2011, men gained 768,000 jobs and lowered their unemployment rate by 1.1 percentage points to 9.5 percent. Women, by contrast, lost 218,000 jobs during the same period, and their unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.5 percent.

These trends are a sharp turnabout from the gender patterns that prevailed during the recession itself, when men lost more than twice as many jobs as women.  So while men have taken an early lead in the recovery, they still have far more ground to cover than women to return to pre-recession employment levels.

What does this all mean to the local economy? Obviously, while we look at the overall impact and success of women in the workplace, a more important subject is just plain jobs, for everyone. It’s apparent that many men in the construction business in Central Oregon have had to reinvent themselves, changing careers in the middle of their life and staring
new ventures.

Let’s salute that! pha

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