Related BLS programs | Related articles
July 1993, Vol. 116, No. 7
Women and jobs in recessions: 1969-92
William Goodman, Stephen Antczak, and Laura Freeman
Some recent statements in the media reveal a belief that women lose jobs in recessions before men do, and in proportionately larger numbers.1 These perceptions are not supported by the facts. This article discusses employment of women in recessions, and the sharp differences between the latest recession and earlier ones.
It is true that trends in women's employment during recessions are quite different from those for men, but men, not women, experience the bulk of net job loss, even though men and women now hold jobs in roughly equal numbers. In each of the last 5 recessions,1 men lost at least 9 times as many jobs as women did. This fact is primarily attributed to the distribution of male and female employees in the various industry during recessions. The goods-producing industries, which employ large numbers of men, sustain the greatest job losses during downturns. Certain service-producing industries that employ primarily women actually continue to grow in recessions.
This excerpt is from an article published in the July 1993 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (532K)
1 See, for example, Judy Mann, "The 54 Percent Solution," The Washington Post, June 24, 1992, p. F12; and Nancy Gibbs, "Th War Against Feminism," Time, mar. 9 1992, p. 54.
1 These recessionary periods, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, are: December 1969-November 1970; November 1973-March 1975; January 1980-July 1990; July 1981-November 1982; and July 1990-March 1991.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers