Job losses hitting men harder than women

Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:59am EST
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The economic crisis is hitting men much harder than women in the workplace, largely because male-dominated industries like construction and transportation are bearing the brunt of job losses, figures show.

Women, meanwhile, dominate sectors that are still growing, like government and healthcare, experts said.

"It's men that have taken the hit," said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "It's been an overwhelmingly male phenomena."

Four-fifths of the 2.74 million people who lost their jobs between November 2007 and November 2008 were men, Sum said.

The biggest losses came in construction, where men comprise 87 percent of the work force, he said. Large losses also came in manufacturing and wholesale trade, where men make up more than two-thirds of the work force, he said.

"Males were dominant in sectors that were taking a bad hit," he said. "It's men and the blue-collar jobs. It's overwhelming."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, men's employment as a ratio of the population dropped by 2.7 percent, while the ratio among women's dropped 0.8 percent from December 2007 to December 2008. The unemployment rate among men rose to 7.9 percent from 5.0, while among women, it rose to 6.4 percent from 4.8 percent, the agency said.

The gap between men's and women's unemployment is the highest since 1983, said Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress.   Continued...

<p>Joseph Sullivan fills out a form at the Verdugo Jobs Center, a partnership with the California Employment Development Department, in Glendale, California November 7, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>