Man-cession and woman-cession

This is interesting:

Harriet Harman, the women’s minister, said: “There is a major fear about women being targeted by their employers during the downturn. This is unlawful.” Another senior minister said women could be set back for “a generation”.

The latest official employment statistics show that the number of women in full-time work fell by 53,000 in the last quarter, compared with a fall of 36,000 for men. It means women are losing full-time jobs at twice the rate of men, because men significantly outnumber women in the workplace.

Interesting for, in the US, the opposite is happening.

According to today\’s BLS report (Table A-1, Household Data), the U.S. economy lost 2.956 million jobs in the last year (Dec. 2007 to Dec. 2008). Further analysis shows that 82% of the job losses (2.413 million) were jobs held by males, and 18% of the jobs losses (460,000) were jobs held by females (see top chart above). Of the 806,000 decline in December employment (household data), 91% of the job losses were male jobs (730,000), compared to a 76,000 job loss for females (9% of total).

So, what might be behind this?

There is mounting alarm over recent figures suggesting twice as many women are being made redundant as men in some parts of the country.

Ministers fear some of those being laid off are victims of discrimination by bosses seeking to avoid costs associated with the introduction of longer maternity leave and new flexible working rights.

Gee, ya think?

Just to run through the logic for the dim (or Labour Ministers, but I repeat myself). If you make a certain type of labour more expensive to employ then employers will economise on that type of labour. In a country which does not weigh itself down with such maternity, flexible time and equalities legislation women are losing jobs at a slower rate than men. In a country that does weigh itself down with such legislation women are losing jobs faster than men.

So, such legislation should be repealed in order to aid the women who are victims of it, no?

5 thoughts on “Man-cession and woman-cession”

  1. No, not without more evidence.

    The reason women are being hit harder than men in the UK is simply that most of the lay-offs have been in the service sector, particularly in hospitality and retail.

    At this stage, I’d be prepared to wager a sizeable sum that, in the US, its been the manufacturing sector taking most of the pain on Main Street, hence men taking most of hit.

    To make your case, you’d need to show that the numbers of women being laid off run significantly above the levels you’d could reasonably account for by looking at general labour market trends.

    Tim adds: US manufacturing? Their service sector is as hard hit as ours. You might be right if you said construction, but then ours has been hit pretty hard too. What is very different in the US is that this is the first time that the male/female thing has been running in favour of women.

  2. Tim, you’re right about the construction factor here in the U.S. How much the downturn in that sector has impacted manufacturing, I don’t know. Not everyone who would have bought a dishwasher for a new house would necessarily have bought one manufactured in the U.S.

    And we have pretty good evidence that many of the lost male jobs were held by immigrants – remittances to central and south Americas a sharply down.

  3. I believe more recent figures show that the “skew” is correcting itself.

    My theory is that women are more likely to be in short-term, part-time, or temporary work that is more easily cut (translation – no huge costs involved or onerous procedures to follow), so those jobs are cut first when things turn messy.

    Ninety days later – or whatever it is – you start to see the permanent full-time “tenured” jobs being lost, simply because that takes longer.



  4. Hmmmm… lemme see: two candidates for the chop, both of equal skill, application and age (say, 25). One is likely to stay at work for the next five years, under the circumstances, while the other may take a total of two of those five years off (and still earning wages during her absenses) to become a mother.

    What would be the logical (i.e. financially-responsible) decision for the manager?

    No wonder NuLabour was so keen to introduce “paternity leave” as a mandatory option* for men…

    *not an oxymoron — optional behavior for the employee, but mandatory for the employer to respect.

  5. I say its high time to throw moral values out the door and give the jobs to whoever wants to work, male or female. We tried equal opportunity and that, but sorry to say it just has not worked and I may sound out of the times, but I think some areas of the world there is a work shortage in nursing and that. Time for the governments of the industrialized countries to throw out the old rules of equality and whoever approaches an employer and want to work and can prove they can do the job, hire them on the spot. I don’t care if their male, female, transgender, older, younger, middle aged. I think whoever runs the companies and the ones running government had the willpower to overlook their interests and that, you see more people employed and this bs simmer down, but it seems the ones that are in charge, like usual, just a corrupt group of leaders who enjoy stoking fear into everybody and hate and playing god in everybody else’s lives while their pockets stay fattened up. I just do not see living in countries like the US or Europe good places to live. I certainly won’t ever start a business in the US.

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