As Women Lose Ground in Latest Round of Jobs Numbers, Can We Stop Talking About the "Mancession"?
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The jobs report also leaves no doubt that Perry’s suggestion that women have been simply sitting out the bad economy, paring their fingernails, is nonsense.
If you look at the BLS statistics over the last year, it’s obvious that while men were hit harder initially by the economic crash, they have experienced a bigger improvement as the economy has shown signs of life. Women were hit less hard initially, but their situation has showed little improvement. In fact, it’s gotten worse since last year. The report shows that in May 2010 civilian women over 20 had an unemployment rate of 7.8. One year later, that rate has risen 8.0. On the other hand, civilian men over 20 experienced a whopping 9.4 unemployment rate in May 2010, but that rate was down to 8.9 in May 2011. The picture for women looks bleak in the short-term, too. In April, 2011, women over 20 had an unemployment rate of 7.9, but the rise in May to 8.0 shows that they are losing jobs, not gaining them. Some recovery!
It’s not difficult to understand why: Women are the shock-absorbers for government budget cuts. In May, the government axed 29,000 workers, with most of the decline coming from local governments. As the national debate has focused on deficit-reduction instead of the far wiser economic strategy of creating and maintaining jobs, state and local governments have let go 175,000 workers in six months. Teachers have been at the center of the budget storm, and 76% of public school teachers are women.
But it gets worse. State and local governments are poised for a round of record-breaking layoffs when the new fiscal year starts on July 1. Teachers and school employees will be ravaged by the layoff tsunami this summer as hundreds of thousands receive pink slips around the country. Human services workers and nurses are also likely to take a big hit.
With women feeling so much pain, can we finally put the mancession meme to rest? It does far more to divide working people than to explain our plight. And it doesn’t do right by Jennifer, who is wondering, after ten years as a public school teacher, why she feels like a bottom feeder.