Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For the Moment, Men Regain the Majority

Copyright, The New York Times Company

By one measure, women were a majority of the nation’s work force for the five months ended March 2010. Employment trends suggest they will regain this majority next winter.

The chart below shows payroll employees by gender since January 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of the nation’s payroll employees were female in February and March 2009. Women regained their majority status in November 2009 and held it until April 2009, when men held 50.04 percent of the nation’s payroll jobs.

Employment follows a seasonal pattern, and a somewhat different seasonal pattern for men than for women. Thus, the summer work force is more male than the winter work force, and it is no accident that women outnumbered men in colder months. So I expect that men will retain a narrow majority of payroll jobs until next winter.

The chart shows that the female majority was larger this winter than it was in the previous one, in large part because almost a million construction jobs were lost in 2009, and the construction industry employs many more men than women. The construction industry will not shed so many jobs this year, but it will take more than a year to recreate the construction and other male-dominated jobs that were lost in the previous year.

For this reason, I expect that women will again hold a majority of payroll jobs for several months next winter.

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