Women pick up the slack

Millions of workers lost their jobs or had their incomes cut during the recession. This has forced families to make dramatic changes to keep their finances above water. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden discusses one of the biggest changes we’ve seen.

“One of the biggest changes is you can argue that women have come in and rescued many households. In fact, a new study found that wives in families where the husband lost his job were three times more likely to enter the workforce and 51 percent more likely to increase their work hours than wives in families where their husband was still working. So bottom line there: where the husband loses a job, it is more likely the wife is going to try to pick up the slack. And this is important because men have accounted for 70 percent of the job losses during this recession.

“Now as a result of women sort of coming to the rescue for many families, their earning power has gone up. In fact, now women’s wages are 83 percent of men’s wages. That is up from 76 percent a decade ago. And importantly, women are more likely to keep their job. Women’s unemployment rates are 2 percentage points lower than the rates for men.”

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