In what sounds like an obvious consequence of the recession, poor housewives have been forced to snap off their aprons and don those working girl blazers. But as Kelly Evans reports, “the composition of the nation’s work force is approaching an unprecedented benchmark.” And the statistics speak for themselves:
Due in part to deep layoffs of men, women are poised to become the majority of workers for the first time. As of September, women held 49.9% of the nation’s jobs, excluding farm workers and the self-employed, a rise of 1.2 percentage points from their 48.7% share when the recession began in December 2007. In 1970, women held 35% of jobs.
Deep cuts in male-heavy sectors like construction and manufacturing have left unemployment for men age 16 and over at 11.4% as of October — a quarter-century high. Joblessness among women is lower, at 8.8%, as employment in female-heavy sectors like education and health care has remained steadier.
Since the recession began, the number of women age 16 and over in the labor force — which includes both the employed and those who are looking for work — has expanded by 300,000 to 71.7 million. Meanwhile, the number of men working or seeking work has dropped by 123,000 to 82.28 million, according to the Department of Labor.
Woot! Grrlz rule! But of course, here’s the kicker.
Despite households’ increasing reliance on the female paycheck, women still earn markedly less than men. […] The median earnings of full-time working women in 2008, the first year of the recession, fell by 1.9% to $35,745, while earnings for men declined 1% to $46,367, according to the Commerce Department.
Don’t you feel proud to be an American, ladies? Let’s just hope these jobs come with health insurance.