Apparently, the recession denied by Washington may have somewhat of a silver lining … at least for women. It appears that women are on the verge of out-numbering men in the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. This will occur due to the long-term changes in women’s roles at a time when men are suffering massive job losses from coast to coast.
Consider the following details provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- In mid-summer, there were 132 millions jobs in the U.S.
- At that time, in June, women held 49.83% of those jobs.
- Women are gaining the vast majority of jobs in the few sectors of the economy that are growing.
- The Bureau is predicting that women will become the majority in late October or early November.
Obviously, these facts are far from showing full equality.
- Women still work fewer hours than men.
- Women hold more part-time jobs than men.
- Men still dominate higher-paying executive ranks.
- And the fact I’ll never understand is that women currently earn 77% of what men make!
The scales have tipped considerably due to the major blow suffered by the construction and manufacturing industries. So far men have lost 74% of the 6.4 million jobs erased by the recession that we’re not having.
Men have lost more than 3 million jobs in construction and manufacturing alone.
The few areas of the economy that are still growing—health care, education, and government—have traditionally hired mostly women. Here’s another major influence in this gender transformation as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- The local governmental workforce of 14.6 million people (hard to believe that number, isn’t it?) have cut 86,000 men from the payrolls this year while adding 167,000 women.
This equality in workforce numbers has been coming for quite some time. It’s a long-term cultural change that’s been moving far too slowly. It’s going to be quite interesting to see what evolves during the coming months as Washington continues to fall short on their promise of an economic recovery in the near future.
While it’s nice to see more balance in the workforce as far as numbers, we still can’t rest until both men and women receive equal pay for equal work! It’s too bad it took a recession to get the wheels turning, but it often takes a Significant Emotion Event for us to SEE the error of our ways. Let’s hope we’ve learned a lesson!