Economic crisis hurts male workers most: U.N.

Thu Mar 5, 2009 2:39pm EST
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By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA (Reuters) - The world's economic crisis has cost more men their jobs than women in Western countries, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Thursday.

The male jobless rate in developed economies rose 1.1 percentage points to 6.6 percent in 2008, the year when credit, financial, and economic woes began to sink global markets, the U.N. agency said in a report. Female unemployment rose 0.8 percentage points to 6.8 percent.

"There was a reduction in the gender gap in the unemployment rate in 2008 but only because the situation of men in the labor market worsened more than the situation of women," the ILO said in its Global Employment Trends for Women study.

Men make up two-thirds or more of rich-country workers in mining, manufacturing, energy, construction and transportation, which have been hit hard by the continuing downturn.

"The impact of the crisis is likely to be more severe for males in countries in which these sectors were among the first to be affected," the ILO said.

Women, on the other hand, constitute two-thirds or more of public-sector workers in education, health and social services, which the ILO said "are likely to be less affected by the economic crisis, at least in the short run."

Developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and France saw their unemployment rates tick higher in late 2008, when the crisis took hold.

In the United States, where aggressive mortgage lending triggered a credit crisis that spread worldwide, the ILO said that male unemployment rose 1.7 percentage points from July to December, far exceeding the 1.1 increase for women workers.   Continued...

<p>A weary trader rubs his eyes as he pauses outside the New York Stock Exchange following the end of the trading session in New York October 9, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>