Friday, March 5, 2010

February Male Employment

The February employment numbers are out: Calculated Risk has lots of graphs. I am specifically interested in the plight of men, with the employment-population ratio for men 25-54 being shown above, and the long term series below (these are seasonally adjusted numbers).

Generally, it appears that the situation is stabilizing, but it's too soon to say it's really recovering.

What I really want to do is look specifically at non-college educated men, ages 25-54, as I think their situation is a proxy for all manner of social and familial breakdown. But I haven't found a way to get that data from the BLS website at the moment.


Pops said...

That first chart looks scary but I've heard about the "Man-cession". The post-war trend in the second is what really surprises me. Peak employment around '06 was just a couple points above the lows in the recession of the early '80s.

Are more people moving between shorter jobs, more and more temporary/freelance jobs or are those guys just better at finding a Sugar Momma than I ever was?

Stuart Staniford said...

Pops - your "Sugar Momma" question is right on point - that does seem likely to be key to understanding what's going on. I don't know the answer right now.

James said...

Personally, I am getting more and more worried about the medium term jobs outlook. I cannot look at this graph next to this graph without getting more and more worried, especially when Krugman seems to say that housing construction is what gets a country out of a recession and Calculated Risk seems to agree.

Then there is Europe. I was worried about Europe and then read this piece that squelched what little optimism I was still harbouring. The basic thesis, that for each member of the "PIIGS" both the public sector and the domestic private sector cannot deleverage at the same time unless the country produces a nearly unimaginable trade surplus - unimaginable especially since they will all be trying to pull it off at the same time - makes chillingly good sense to me. Oh hey - maybe the Germans and Chinese will suddenly start living beyond their means! Yeah right. I think this could get much, much uglier ... and I have this terrible feeling that it will.

brett said...

President Obama visited Opower yesterday to make his green energy jobs pitch. Two observations:

1. Opower employs computer scientists, statisticians, behavioral scientists and well educated modern office workers. They process data; they encourage conservation. They do not make anything physical. Errol is not likely to find a job here.

2. Obama does not mention conservation. He talks about replacing drafty windows. Opower is not about home retrofits. On its website, it pointedly differentiates itself from the retrofit effort.

jewishfarmer said...

The statistics I've seen tend to imply that most men are relying in some part on female remunerative labor - they are living with parents, girlfriends, wives, etc... They may also be working under the table, but they are living from women who have kept their jobs. Given the economic disparity between women and men, that means that generally speaking, the loss of household income is greater than 50%.

The interesting question to me as a social issue will be how this shapes male lives - it might be viable to imagine an arising domestic economy of men, particularly younger men, less bound by traditional roles. But that's a tough thing to navigate, and anecdotally, I hear a lot of frustration from women not primarily about the economic hardships, but about the fact that their unemployed sons, spouses, etc... are not doing an appropriate amount of domestic labor to compensate.