Sunday, November 22, 2009
Painting a detailed picture of exactly who is getting laid off in Oregon is hampered by incomplete statistics. What seems clear is that because of the collapse of the housing, lumber and construction industries, joblessness has hit men hardest and the trend of men losing their jobs faster than women is occurring not only in Oregon but across the nation. It's been called the "mancession" by some and the "Great He-pression" by others. According to the state's employment experts, men and women's unemployment rates behaved nearly the same way around the 2001 recession. The unemployment rate for men in Oregon was higher than the rate for women leading into the recession and stayed that way until full job recovery in 2005. However, men still make up 53% of the workforce in Oregon today. Employment in education and health services has grown during the recession, and those sectors employ one out of every four women who work for private employers in the state. As long as these industries add jobs while the heavily male industries lose them, the women's share of Oregon's workforce likely will continue to increase. Nick Beleiciks with the Oregon Employment Department wrote recently that with "men's unemployment still rising … this recession may rely on working women to lead the recovery like never before … Perhaps the W may not stand for the shape of the recession, but for the women who work the nation out of it."