The Games Politicans Play With Employment Statistics

Today our statistic is from Mitt Romney. Team Romney claims women have lost 92.3% of the jobs since Obama took office. U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner, acting as political pundit, calls Romney's new favorite statistic ridiculous.

First off Romney is right. Since Obama took office in January 2009, the below graph shows the total job losses by women as a percentage of the total job losses. As of March 2012, it is 92.3%.

payrolls loss women

Yet if one goes back to December 2007, the official start of the great recession, the percentage of total jobs lost by sex become more even, implying men got it first and women got it later. Women have lost -1.840 million jobs, or 2.73%. By the same date, men are down -3.321 million jobs, or 4.7%. Overall payrolls are down -5.161 million jobs. Below is the graph of women employees to payrolls as presented by the BLS.

women2emp

Taking the less accurate, current population survey and using January 2009 as the base number of employed, women are still down -304,000 while men have gained a meager 151,000 to their employed ranks.

The explanation on why women from 2009 onward are the majority of job losses isn't quite up to snuff. Some are referring to manufacturing and construction which took heavy losses in 2008 and their better job growth numbers. That's true. Yet, there was supposedly something called equal opportunity way back when and lord knows women need that money as much as men. Somehow these various fields are not supposed to be for one sex, anyone remember this? Therefore claims these statistics are misleading and ridiculous doesn't quite cut it. Below is a graph of women (dark red) versus men (blue green) payrolls. While it's clear early in the recession we had a mancession, or 75.4% of the job losses were men, it also appears there was a womcession after early 2008, or a recession delayed. Interesting how few seemed to notice this until now that's it's time to call Romney ridiculous. For both sexes payrolls started to turn around, meagerly, in 2010, yet we also see payrolls growing faster for men than women after February 2010.

women vs men

Unfortunately we have explanations like this from the press, which confuse participation rate with job losses, in order to quickly dismiss away why jobs for women are not picking up as fast as men.

The latest employment report shows that male participation in the work force was up 14,000 while female participation fell 177,000, in part because women tend to work in retail or government jobs (such as teaching), which have been cut in recent months.

The above statement is incorrect, the labor participation rate includes those unemployed. It's only those who have dropped out of the count, by retirement, disability, being out of work so long they stopped being counted, or they plain gave up looking who are considered not participating. Secondly, really, most government cuts are coming at the expense of women?

We just went through the types of payroll jobs in this article and it shows growth in a host of job categories that are known to be dominated by women, including retail trade, health and education. Administration and support services, assuming the Washington Post is correct and women are stuck in low paying secretary and paper pushing jobs, had the most growth in the past year.

Additionally the occupational statistics from May 2011 show these low paying, crappy jobs, dominate the labor market. Those dismissing camp Romney statistics also dismissively point out low paying jobs are women's work.

Lord knows we hate for any politician to be right but there is something to be said here about the womession. This statement by no means endorses GOP agenda. Last we saw they were arguing about birth control and sending women back to the stone age. There was something else about Republicans really not liking those equal opportunity laws, such as they are. Yet dismissing the team Romney rhetoric as slight of hand might be a slight in and of itself. After all, what would team Obama do if they lost some of the women vote over a very real pocketbook issue?

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Comments

Romney hearts Mankiw

This is really bad, Mitt Romney has chosen Greg Mankiw as his economic adviser. Remember how outsourcing is good for America and how fast food should be reclassified as manufacturing jobs?

This is George W.'s economic adviser and we see where that got us, not that Obama is picking anyone much better.

The never ending mystery is how these people, whose advised has been shown to be disaster and very wrong, somehow keep moving up the power chain anyway.

If there were in grad school, one would hope they would flunk out, but not in politics. Even worse, many of these people are professors, which begs the question on what is really being taught.

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Academia

There's been a steady rotting out of objectivity in science and academia as the Corporate funded, economic value of tenure has corrupted research and study into a semi-papal type of group-think. Not many people will risk their children's private education to be "bold" and suggest non-corporate theology.

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