Friday, September 4, 2009

49.9 percent

The BLS reported this morning that payrolls were 49.9 percent female in July 2009.

To my knowledge, I was the first economist to follow this statistic (see this post from January).

I also predicted that, if the recession were deep enough (which I defined to be total payrolls below 131 million, seasonally adjusted), then women would hold a majority of payroll positions.

I wasn't sure whether total employment would be deep enough (that is, below 131 million), but thought it could happen in August 2009. Interestingly, July 2009 payrolls were 131.2 million.

With the additional data that has become available since then, it seems possible that payrolls could drop below 131 million and women become a majority in October or November. But my original forecast is somewhat more likely "total employment may never get as low as 131 million, and the female percentage may not reach a full 50 percent for several years."

NOTE: the seasonally UNadjusted data say that women's percentage peaked at 49.98 percent in March 2009. Even if the SA data say that women attain majority this fall, they will not really be a majority because their peak occurred in a male-intensive season. (HT to Dennis Cauchon, even though he misquoted me!).

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