The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced some interesting unemployment figures the other day. They announced that the rate of unemployment for men has dropped below that of women for the first time since 2006. Is this evidence of sexism being in action in the workplace?
The unemployment rate of men in October was 5.6% versus 5.9% for women. That is the first time that has happened since 2006. Deep in the throes of the recession the unemployment rate for men was 2.6% higher than for women. This October was also the highest level of employment for men since June of 2007 when is peaked. This past October saw 61,304,000 men working in the private sector. This is 4000 more than the previous record.
What are the reasons?
The obvious to this question is sexism! It is obvious that companies have gone back to their pattern of sexist hiring behavior and are giving men the traditional preference in jobs they have always been given, at least that is the answer you might get from someone like Nancy Pelosi who has made claims that questions about her retirement are motivated by sexism.
Or, could the answer be that as the economy has come back we have seen an increase in jobs more likely to be held by men? In my local area there is a lot more construction. All those workers appear to be men. As manufacturing has returned those jobs seem to attract more men than women. That doesn’t mean that women should not, could not and are not doing those jobs but men do them at a higher rate and that is the reason men’s unemployment has dropped to the level found in October.
My point at making what most of you may have considered an absurd claim is that you can find demons wherever you look if you are so inclined to do so. Does sexism still exist? Absolutely, just like racism, ageism, and any other –ism you want to throw in there, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be evidence of it.