The article goes on to note that "much of the blame lies in the loss of government jobs, particularly local school districts where women predominate." From the peak of the recession female unemployment has fallen, down from 9.0 percent in mid 2010 to 8.1 percent in March 2012. Male unemployment rates declined from a peak of 11.2 percent to 8.3 percent in March 2012. It is also worth noting that male unemployment rates peaked 14 months earlier during the downturn, showing that many male-dominate industries felt deeper pain early in the downturn, and later those losses spread across a wide swath of the economy. Both groups are showing improvements in unemployment rates, but they are still notably above pre-recession levels. Graph 1 shows U.S. monthly unemployment rates by sex through March 2012.
Oregon unemployment rate estimates by sex are available for annual average only, from the Current Population Survey. The error ranges for these estimates are not insignificant and are published, so caution should be used comparing data over time and among gender. These data show similar trends in Oregon. Graph 2 shows Oregon unemployment rates by sex from before the recession through 2011. This graph shows a similar pattern to the U.S. Female unemployment peaked in 2010, whereas male unemployment was highest in 2009.
Due to the sample size limitations of the Current Population Survey, obtaining comparable data at the county level is not possible. Short of that, another source of workforce information by sex is available from the Census Bureau's Local Employment Dynamics Quarterly Workforce Indicators. Graphs 3 and 4 show the trend in total private-sector employment by gender for Coos and Curry counties. Male employment fell more relative to female employment during the recent recession, but there are still more men at work on the South Coast, according to Quarterly Workforce Indicators Statistics.
Looking more closely at Coos County, we can presume that a steeper declines in male employment might be due to industries with large shares of male employment being impacted by the deep decline in economic output and falling employment. Using the quarterly workforce indicators/local employment dynamics data we can explore what industries have a higher percentage of male employment, and see how those industries fared through the great recession up through the most recent data available.
Graph 5 is telling two stories. The first is the list of industries, ranked by the percentage of male employment during the second quarter of 2011. Those percentages are shown in light-shaded bars on the graph. The second story is the total percentage change in employment, from before the Great Recession though the second quarter 2011. These data are displayed in the dark-shaded bars on this graph. Industries with a high percentage of male employment that also experienced employment declines include construction, mining, and logging; and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Looking toward the lower portion of the graph, a number of industries that have a higher percentage of female employment have added jobs between the second quarter of 2005 and the second quarter of 2011. Those included professional, scientific, and technical services; and health care and social assistance. One of the limitations of these data is that they only include private-sector employment. Since the data are only through the second quarter of last year, and employment trends had yet to turn positive, it's still too early to tell if the man-cession, as measured by job growth, has ended at the South Coast.