A Bad Jobs Day; Mancession and Education Revisited.

Bad unemployment news today.

In addition, an editorial recently dropped that the administration is mulling whether or not this unemployment crisis is “structural.”   Talking with some random people recently, I got the sense that lots of people think that the unemployment crisis is primarily a structural problem, not suitable for further monetary or fiscal policy. So I’m going to spend some time in the future readdressing these concerns every chance I get; sorry if it becomes repetitive.

And I’ll do that here with two quick thing that I noticed checking out the unemployment numbers today.

There was a 2009 meme about how the recession was really a “mancession”, where male-dominated fields like construction and finance had a larger hit and unemployment was going to hurt men much more than women. This story had a lot of legs in 2009 when unemployed rose much more rapidly among men than women.

I argued at the time that this was a false dichotomy, and that the evolving nature of families securing homes and benefits leads to “two-income traps” where either parent being unemployed in a family put the family at risk. Men being more vulnerable than women ignores how vulnerable households themselves have become. But this story does have a bit of a “structural unemployment” part to it, where men are going to be harder to employ post-recovery period.

Here’s what those two look like now:

And plotting the difference between the two:

As you can see, male unemployment has stayed the same or trended slightly down (down 0.4% over the 12 month period) and female unemployment continues to trend up (up 0.4% over the past 12 month period). So I think we are seeing a move towards a greater gender parity in unemployment. To whatever extent the recession was hitting men more than women, that is disappearing rapidly right now.

Another structural argument has to do with the economy wanting a greater number of highly educated workers. As such, how is the economy doing employing those with college degrees?

It just jumped up 0.4%, and is back to where it roughly was months ago (were census workers primarily college educated?).   5% unemployment seems low, but remember it was 2-3% for most of the past 10 years.   If the economy is going to rapidly absorb those with higher education it isn’t currently happening, and students graduating from college with the freshest skills aren’t finding work.

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6 Responses to A Bad Jobs Day; Mancession and Education Revisited.

  1. AR says:

    I see this as structural, if peak oil and end-stage predatory monopoly capitalism are structural. It seems that the looting at the top may be a signal that the elite are exiting the US, which they’ve decided is no longer profitable enough, due to the debt that they refuse to jubilee. But the planet can’t support our lifestyle much longer, anyway.

  2. The US employment to population ratio declined to 58.4% in November 2010, down from 58.6% last month and 58.8% a year ago — see graph at:


    Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of “unemployed” in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached a historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

  3. Please keep going says:

    Great post mike, just great.

  4. ZeroInMyOnes says:

    As education jobs are cut this will disproportionally hurt women, particularly professionals serving grades K-12.

  5. Beevis says:

    Huh Huh Huh……he just said that the story of a “mancession” had a lot of legs……..huh huh huh

  6. Pingback: Unemployment Among College Graduates | South By North Strategies, Ltd.

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