Monday, March 23, 2009


World Ends; Women Hit Hardest

Eye Roll Alert: As Cuts Loom, Will Working From Home Lead to a Layoff?

“With the recession forcing businesses to cut back on workers, employees are increasingly doing all they can to hang onto their jobs and are forgoing many of the benefits that once allowed them to balance the demands of work and family life.”

Post writer Annys Shin is relentless in her pursuit of this Front Page story. She gets feedback from a variety of sources:

“In good times, workers frequently seized the opportunity to use "flex time" and family leave, to telecommute and to take paid sick days. But, according to workplace consultants, human resources specialists and employees themselves, those days are slipping away….Some workers' advocates say they are particularly concerned about the consequences for women…There's now a "silent fright" among workers, said Joanne Brundage, executive director of Mothers & More…”

Then, perhaps because what’s left of journalistic ethics requires it, she notes, in passing:

“There is little data on the recession's impact on so-called work-life initiatives in the private sector.”

...and the only companies she names are those who are openly committed to maintaining or increasing such flexibility.

She gives the obligatory shout-out to the Obama administration: “The Obama administration has stressed the importance of policies that improve the "work and family balance."…so this is probably all Bush’s fault.

She concludes with this damning bit of evidence in support of her thesis: “Emily Muschinske, of South Orange, N.J., cites her reduced work schedule as a major factor behind being recently laid off from a major children's publisher in New York.”

Uhhh, that’s pretty much all she has. Ms Shin doesn’t name the employer nor does she get a statement from them but I guess you’d have to be a pretty hard-hearted sort to suggest any other business-related reason for her layoff.

Here’s hoping Ms. Shin and the Post do a follow-up story wherein they follow the adventures of some entrepreneurs who, after reading this story, decide to take on the unnamed and presumably male-centered businesses cutting back in this area. These plucky but socially conscious corporate mavericks will have developed a business model employing all kinds of cost-cutting, flexible, women-friendly work schedules. So armed, they will then kick the ass of those older stodgy firms, revitalize the economy (with, of course, the help of the benevolent President Obama) and teach businesses everywhere about the true meaning of life.

I read the same article and thought of this.

According to Friday's BLS report (Table A-1, Household Data), the U.S. economy has lost 4.464 million jobs since Dec. 2007. Further analysis shows that 78% of the job losses (3.483 million) were jobs held by males, and 22% of the jobs lost (981,000) were jobs held by females (see top chart above). Of the 351,000 decline in February employment (household data), 90% of the job losses were male jobs (315,000), compared to a 37,000 job loss for females (10% of total).

Further, the February unemployment rate for men was 8.8% vs. 7.3% for women, as the 1.5% male-female gap narrowed just slightly from the all-time historical record male-female jobless rate gap of 1.6% in January.

I guess Men suffering is just not news.
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