Women less unemployed than men: And here's the good news...

Those 5.7 million jobs lost since December 2007 have been almost overwhelmingly lost by men (about 80 percent of them). So while the overall unemployment rate in April was 8.9 percent, it broke down between adult men and women decidedly in the favor of the fairer sex; men had a jobless rate of 9.4 percent, versus women at 7.1 percent.

For both men and women, that's the bad news. And here's more: because the jobs lost by men tended to be unionized jobs with good health benefits, the jobs left held by women tended to be jobs without health benefits so many families who had been making two incomes and been insured are now having to get by on one, generally less well-paid income (women still make about 77 cents on a man's dollar), without health insurance or other benefits. It's paradoxical, because women tend to hold more of the jobs in the health care field, and that sector is growing despite the recession.

Sadly, working mothers are picking up the slack for their families by getting a second job or working longer hours.

According to Career Builder's annual Mother's Day survey of working moms, 14 percent have taken on second jobs in the past year, and 30 percent of those whose companies have had layoffs in the past 12 months are working longer hours.

If there is any good news in this data, it's that some dads are getting the chance to stay at home with the kids and are picking up a lot of their partner's domestic slack. I wasn't able to find any recent data, but the anecdotal evidence is profuse, and it's been the case in my own household for some time.

For children, this data is unfortunate; not only are they missing out on much-needed time with their mothers (not just quality time, but any time), but they're statistically less likely to have health insurance. And with 43% of mothers working more than 40 hours a week outside the home, it's probably true that kids are eating convenience foods and getting less nutrition (and less time with mom paying attention to what the kids are consuming).

While feminists might cheer the lower unemployment rates, it's clear that women aren't winning any great gender battles here, with the possible exception of this: perhaps the long-standing male domination of the financial and automotive sectors is leading to their demise. Could management experts find some causality in this data; could women in the workplace contribute to a greater likelihood of industry survival? I'd argue that it's certainly worth studying. Have women, will resist bankruptcy? It makes a great thesis, at the very least.


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