Current Issues in Economics and Finance

The Unemployment Gender Gap during the 2007 Recession

February 2010Volume 16, Number 2
JEL classification: E24, J22

Authors: Ayşegül Şahin, Joseph Song, and Bart Hobijn

Women fared decidedly better than men during the most recent recession. By August 2009, the unemployment rate for men had hit 11.0percent, while that for women held at 8.3percent. This 2.7percentage point unemployment gender gap—the largest in the postwar era—appears to reflect two factors: First, men were much more heavily represented in the industries that suffered the most during the downturn. Second, there was a much sharper increase in the percentage of men who—prompted, perhaps, by a decline in household liquidity—rejoined the labor force but failed to find a job.

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