Friday, February 5, 2010

Reached: Historic Milestone for Working Women

Copyright, The New York Times Company

For the first time, women have outnumbered men on the nation’s payrolls.

The Labor Department revised on Friday its previous estimates of nonfarm payroll employees, the monthly aggregate employment series that gets the most media attention.

The most recent jobs estimates by gender are for January. Before adjusting for seasonal changes, 64.2 million payroll employees last month were women, and only 63.4 million were men.

The chart below, taking revisions reported on Friday into account, shows payroll employees by gender for each month of 2009. In four of the 12 months — February, March, November and December — there were more female payroll employees than male employees.



Employment follows a seasonal pattern and a somewhat different seasonal pattern for men than for women. For example, construction is highly seasonal, and construction is more male intensive. So the summer work force is more male than the winter work force, and it is no accident that women outnumbered men in colder months (according to the government’s seasonal adjustments, seasonally adjusted female employment in January was only 49.9 percent of the total).

The different types of jobs held by men and women not only explain the seasonal pattern of women’s relative employment, but they also explain why it was a recession that pushed women past this milestone. Construction and manufacturing are male-intensive industries and were industries with particularly large percentage employment losses during this recession. Over the past 24 months, the number of female payroll employees fell 2.6 million, while the number of men fell 5.8 million.

In fact, almost all of the gains in women’s relative employment over the last 20 years occurred during the three recessions.

This means that a job market recovery and normal seasonal trends could push women back into the minority. Still, the long-term trend indicates that the basic parity between the sexes in the work force is more than a passing moment.

21 comments:

Media Mentions said...

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Sincerely,
MediaMentions

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