Job recovery for men still lags

08/01/2014 12:16 PM

08/01/2014 4:30 PM

Recent monthly employment reports show that men are gaining employment in greater numbers than women, but a job deficit for men remains compared with pre-recession numbers.

A report published Friday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research said new U.S. Labor Department data show that men gained nearly two out of every three jobs added in July — 141,000 for men compared with 68,000 for women.

Men’s job gains also were revised upward for May and June. But despite the recent surge, men remain about 392,000 jobs short of the jobs held before employment plummeted in 2008. They now have regained 94 percent of the 6 million jobs they lost between December 2007 and December 2009, the trough for men’s employment.

Meanwhile, job gains for women helped push overall U.S. employment totals above the pre-recession number as of July this year. Women regained their number of lost jobs last year and now hold 68.6 million payroll jobs, or 1 million more than their previous peak in April 2008.

The research institute reported that from July 2013 to July 2014, 45 percent of the 2.6 million jobs added to payrolls were filled by women and 55 percent by men.

In the last 12 months, job growth for women has been strongest in education, health services, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade. Job gains for men have been strongest in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and construction, according to the institute’s analysis.

In the same July to July period, women lost jobs in the ultilities and information sectors, and men lost jobs in information.

Both men and women have had stable job gains since the end of 2010. The recession officially ended in June 2009, but employment didn’t begin to rise until January 2010. Employment suffered a brief downturn in mid-2010 before beginning a steady rise at the end of 2010.

Job market analysts note that the quality of many of the regained jobs is not equal to that of the jobs eliminated in the recession. Many of the new jobs are part time, temporary or contract positions that lack the full-time pay and benefits of previous jobs.

Also, some of the leading job-creating occupations have tended to be in the lower-wage food service, retail and health care sectors.

According to the Labor Department’s companion household survey, which produces the unemployment figures, the jobless rate in July for both men and women was 6.2 percent. That represented an increase in unemployment for women from 5.9 percent in June and a decrease for men from 6.3 percent.

The national labor force participation rate — the percentage of the 16-and-over population that is working or looking for work — upticked slightly in July to 62.9 percent from 62.8 percent.

Women’s participation rose to 56.9 percent, up from 56.8 percent in June, but remained 2.5 percentage points lower than the 59.4 percent rate in December 2007.

Men’s participation rate was 69.3 percent in July, up from 69.2 percent in June but 3.8 percentage points below the 73.1 percent rate in December 2007.

The institute references a February 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office estimating that about half of the decline in the labor force participation rate was because of aging of the big baby boomer generation.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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