The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released The Unemployment Gender Gap during the 2007 Recession, the latest article in its series Current Issues in Economic and Finance.
Authors Ayşegül Şahin, Joseph Song and Bart Hobijn draw on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ labor flows data to track the movements of men and women into and out of unemployment during the most recent recession. The study finds that the downturn has had a more substantial adverse effect on men than on women.
The authors explain that this unemployment gender gap hit a peak in August 2009 when the unemployment rate for men stood at 11.0 percent while that for women was 8.3 percent. This 2.7 percentage point difference represented the largest unemployment gender gap in the postwar era. The study traces the gender gap to two factors: the deterioration of the male-dominated manufacturing and construction industries and a disproportionate increase in the percentage of men who reentered the labor market –most likely in response to declining household liquidity—but failed to find a job.
Şahin, Song and Hobijn note that while the most recent data on unemployment inflows and outflows suggest that a recovery in the labor market may be under way, major changes in the U.S. economy may result in significant structural changes in the labor market, leading to a reduced likelihood of a quick recovery.
Ayşegűl Şahin is a senior economist and Joseph Song an assistant economist in the Research and Statistics Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Bart Hobijn is a research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.