Reclaiming Common Sense

Record Level of Women Working During December

Best December for Men Ever. There's a Difference.

The December jobs report was well received when it was released the first Friday of January. The Private Sector worker data, seasonally adjusted jumped by over 300,000 workers. The headline Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) number was reported higher by 312,000. That is not where the story ends.

There are a number of ways to examine the data. The report is comprised of data from two different data sets: The Current Population Survey (CPS) Data and the The Current Employment Statistics (CES) Data. The CPS data estimates the number of workers in the workforce population and records the number of full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and unemployed workers. The CES data measures, in part, wages and workers by sector. The headline NFP number is seasonally adjusted CES worker data and includes government workers. The CPS data is used to calculate the unemployment rate and the participation rate.

This column has already written a number of articles regarding the December Jobs report and the December jobs Report and the December data:

This article is a continuation of a series that uses the CPS data to compare changes in jobs and unemployment by gender. It uses the unadjusted, or non-seasonally adjusted (NSA,) CPS data because the seasonal factors used to convert the seasonally adjusted (SA) data change from category to category, month to month, and year to year.

The Jobs Iceberg has Melted. The Jobs Mountain is growing. This column, and its predecessor "Reclaiming Common Sense," discovered a jobs iceberg when one question was asked: "How has the mixture of full-time and part-time jobs changed since the beginning of the Great Recession?"  It was discovered that peak jobs was July 2007. It was also discovered that nearly 15 million full-time jobs were lost between July 2007 and January 2010.

We saw full recovery of all the lost full-time jobs during the Summer of 2015. Then we lost FT jobs.  We saw those jobs lost during the Winter of 2015. We added net full-time jobs during the Summer of 2016. The same thing happened during the Winter of 2017, the Summer of 2017, and Winter of 2017. The data is similar for men, and entirely different for women.

Have Men recovered from the Great Recession? It took men until the Summer of 2016 to recover all of their lost full-time jobs before they lost them, regained them, lost them, and regained them again. Next month we will find out whether or not those gains have been retained for an entire year. Men lost 10.6 million full-time jobs between July 2007 and January 2010.

Men are not participating at the same rate that they were during December 2007. Participation was fairly consistent during July 2006, July 2007, July 2008. A slide happened between July 2007 and December 2015. The Unemployment rate has been falling since January 2010. Normally if the unemployment rate is under 5% we are considered to be at full-employment. We are below 4% this December. Is that "fuller" employment? No. Did we have "fullest employment" during 1997-1999 when the overall December Workforce Participation was roughly 67%, as compared to this month's 62.99%? Was that "fullest employment?"

We are missing 5.3 million male participants. If we were participating at the same rate we were participating during December 2007 then we would have 5 million more male workers, full-time, part-time, or unemployed. We could have 85.857 million full-time workers, 85.857 million part-time male workers, or 85.857 million unemployed male workers and we would have the same number of participants. The effective unemployment rate, compared with the unemployment rate from December 2007, is 9.59% as compared with the official NSA U-3 unemployment rate of 3.98%

Women lost fewer full-time jobs and started adding them faster than men. Women lost 3.5 million ll-time jobs at their worst. They lost those gains during January 2015 and added to their total full-time jobs level during February of 2015. Women have been adding full-time jobs. same month to same month, every year since that time.

We have the most women working jobs this December than any prior month. The combination of full-time jobs is higher this month than last month, than October, September, August, or July of this year. Men see peak employment, peak jobs, during either July or August every year.

Women have their highest December Participation rate since December of 2012. Women are participating at 57.35% as compared to 57.51% during December 2012 and 59.46% during December 2007. The unemployment rate is 3.41%. Women "must be" at full-employment. Unemployment was at 7.35% during December 2012 and 4.43% during December 2007. If women were participating at he same rate that women were participating back then there would be 2.8 million more women in the workforce as participants.  Their effective unemployment rate is 6.84%.

Women work more (Part-time) PT jobs than men work. Men work more FT (full-time) jobs than women work. This is an important distinction to not when discussing the job situation for women in the workforce.  There are 72.6 million male FT workers versus 56.5 million FT women workers. There are 9.8 million men working part-time jobs versus 17.6 million women working PT jobs. We have more women participants than men even though we have more unemployed men than unemployed women,

This data is born out in the multiple job workers data. The overall multiple Job Holders data revealed that we had over 8 million people working two jobs. We set a December record for people working two part-time jobs (PT PT) with 2.177 Million workers working PT PT.

If we break out the Multiple Job Workers data for men and women another picture is painted. The number of workers working multiple jobs was 3.952 million men and 4.078 million for women.

  • This was an increase from 3.860 million for men and and increase for women from 4.074 million during November.
  • Men and women saw drops in the number of people working a primary FT Job and Secondary PT job.
  • Men and women saw their dual PT job numbers rise. Men rose from 689,000 to 733,000. Women saw their numbers rise from 1.392 million to 1.445 million
  • Men worked 180,00 FT FT jobs, down from 195,000. Women saw their FT FT numbers drop from 95,000 to 88,000 from November to December.
  • An interesting anomaly in the data is the "PT FT" job workers. There is a metric for "variable hours" reported in the MJH data - this does not bring the total up to the total published, so there has to be some who have a primary (permanent) part-time job and a secondary (seasonal or lower paying) full-time job. These numbers rose for men from 559,000 to 708,000 and from 488,000 to 547,000 for women.

Multiple job workers do not impact the participation rate because they are already counted in the total FT and Total PT job numbers.

Men and women are doing fairly well in the current expansion. It was a long recovery for men. It was a shorter recovery for women. We are "missing" over 8 million workers, men and women combined. Participation is improving for women and stabilizing or improving for men. Neither are participating at the same level that they were participating during December 2007. There is a difference between men and women working in the workplace. Men work more FT jobs than women. Women work more PT jobs than men and more dual PT jobs than men. Men and women are both working more FT jobs than last December. Men and women are working fewer PT jobs than last December. This may be what we are seeing in the weekly wage numbers and well as the total worker numbers., even though that data is from a different data set.

It's the economy.

The graphics for this discussion can be found here for men, and here for women.