The US recession has opened up the biggest gap between male and female unemployment rates since records began in 1948, as men bear the brunt of the economy’s contraction.
Men have lost almost 80 per cent of the 5.1m jobs that have gone in the US since the recession started, pushing the male unemployment rate to 8.8 per cent. The female jobless rate has hit 7 per cent. This is a dramatic reversal of the trend over the past few years, where the rates of male and female unemployment barely differed, at about 5 per cent. It also means that women could soon overtake men as the majority of the US labor force.
Men have been disproportionately hurt because they dominate those industries that have been crushed: nine in every 10 construction workers are male, as are seven in every 10 manufacturing workers. These two sectors alone have lost almost 2.5m jobs. Women, in contrast, tend to hold more cyclically stable jobs and make up 75 per cent of the most insulated sectors of all: education and healthcare.
The widening gap between male and female joblessness means many US families are solely reliant on the income the woman brings in. Since women earn on average 20 per cent less than men, that is putting extra strain on many households.
Another report says — So the men of corporate America created the financial mess. Big surprise. Can the growing ranks of female CEOs help clean up the mess? The latest Fortune 500 rankings show a record number of women are running top companies. And while many of these women pull in relatively modest salaries, some of their companies are weathering the economic storm with relative ease.
Will this economic storm result in women proving themselves and finally attaining equality in the work force?