Is there currently a mancession? How about a shecovery? How can this be a good thing?

workmen 2There has been a lot of talk since the recession started as to whether the economic downturn has hit men harder than women thus creating womana “mancession”.  Even Wikipedia states that unemployment for men has been 10% while unemployment for women was only 8%.  There are even articles about a “shecovery” which occurs when areas of the economy that are dominated by women recover and male dominated areas don’t.

The recession hit areas harder that employed men in greater numbers than women.  Construction and manufacturing were all hurt badly in the recession and more men than women were employed in these areas.  Men were therefore impacted more greatly in the economic downturn.

As one online article in Nation magazine points out women make up already half of the workforce in America today which is up from 30% in the 1940s.  Women also have more jobs than men in areas like retail sales and healthcare and they have half of the middle management jobs according to the article.  I would also add to this list areas like education and the media where women outnumber men.  And these areas tend to either be growing or not shrinking as fast as male dominated areas of the economy.

We already know that women outnumber men in colleges these days by almost 60% to 40%.  They have also caught up in graduate schools as now women are graduating in numbers for the most part equal to men in medical and law schools.  These schools are pushing these grads out into the job market every year.  So women are also getting the degrees which will help them land the good paying jobs in the future.

Many of these articles are written by women and they describe this situation as women “winning” some kind of job struggle.  Some even say that women are just more suited to the modern economy.  A new book is even entitled “The end of Men”.  Does anyone see a problem with this besides me?  Men being cast off as outmoded, outdated, no longer useful to society.  Is anyone concerned with where they will go and what they will do?  It is indeed disturbing.

We have always been concerned in the past about some group that is disadvantaged, falling, behind, or left out.  We have always seen the danger and unfairness in this and we have always in the past made some attempt to address it for the good of everyone.  Now with half of society being looked upon as at least falling behind (and at worst defunct) we do nothing.

Do we believe that men somehow deserve a mancession?  Is is payback for some past crimes?  I say what about the future?  There is a whole new generation of men that must find their way.  I have seen the men in my office that have lost their jobs years ago and still can’t find something even close to what they used to do if they can find something at all.  They then must face foreclosure, eviction and all the serious financial problems of having little or no income.

As a bankruptcy attorney I want to say to the men that if they are still unemployed or underemployed and they have debts they cannot pay then they should look at bankruptcy as an option to get out of the debt.  They can then begin to rebuild their lives with out the debt burden often incurred prior to this recession when things were better.

But we are all in this thing together and if men are falling behind and if their is indeed less and less need for them in the future it is a problem for everyone.  The Nation article asks if women are “really victors” in the new economy.   I am reminded here of a line from the movie “The War of the Roses” where Danny DeVito’s character tells Michael Douglas’ character that “there is no winning only degrees of losing”.  We are all in the same boat in society and when men lose we all lose.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Men photo courtesy of Roger Blackwell.  “I won” photo courtesy of Search Engine People Blog.

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Are people leaving the labor force? Is unemployment really rising? The labor force participation rate says yes!

There have been many articles and warnings lately that people are leaving the labor force.  These articles claim there are fewer people working or looking for work each year and that the labor force of employed or employable individuals is shrinking.  This is occurring while the population is still rising.  There is therefore apparently not a lessening of the population but a lessening of people in it that are eager to work.

That begs the question of why this is happening.  Is the population just aging?  Are people retiring earlier or are kids staying at home longer?  Or is it that more and more people just giving up and forgetting about working or looking for work?

And if these people are just leaving the workforce out of disillusionment with the current state of the economy then how are they surviving?  Is government (you and me) paying for them?  Are they living off friends and relatives?  Are they living off the land?  What are these people doing and why and will it continue?

According to a recent online article posted on ZeroHedge the labor force has declined in the month of April by 522,000 people.  That means that there are currently 88,419,000 people who are not in the labor force but who are of an age where you would expect that they would be (over the age of 16).  This represents a new low.

I found a definition of the “labor force participation rate” in the Winston-Salem Journal.  It is a term used by the Department of Labor and it simply means the number of people over the age of 16 working or actively looking for work.  According to this article the labor force participation rate for April 2012 is 70% for men which is the lowest since the government started keeping statistics on this in 1948.  For all Americans it has reached the lowest level since 1981.

Some say that high paid jobs are being replaced by low wage manufacturing and construction jobs.  This could account for the lowest level ever of men working.  Many of my clients have looked for higher wage jobs for years and can’t find anything.  Many of these people have given up trying to find a job out of disillusionment.  They simply won’t take a very low paid job at their age and skill level.

As far as 16 year olds are concerned most don’t currently work even if many of us adults think they should.  Indeed the current “failure to launch syndrome” tells us that 70% of children under the age of 30 still live with their parents.  Women make up more than 60% of college grads and they are entering the workforce in numbers which may contribute to lack of job availability for men.  The overall labor force participation rate peaked in 2000 when women really began “flooding” the workforce according to this article.

But still  it seems in general that more people are continuing to leave the workforce.  Some groups have a higher rate but every group seems to have fewer people working as the numbers for the whole labor force participation is at its lowest rate since 1981.

The problem is that the government only counts unemployed people if they are in the labor force. If they have exited for any reason then they are not counted.  So when you are told that the unemployment rate is declining then remember these figures.  Ask yourself if unemployment really is declining because it seems to me that it is still rising.  It also seems like there is an ongoing mass exodus currently from the labor force.  A mass exodus that is not showing up in unemployment statistics.

You might come to the same conclusion that we are being lied to.  That unemployment is rising, more people are out of work and these people appear to be so disillusioned that they have given up on work altogether.  All the while we are being told that the economy is improving and unemployment is falling.  I say don’t believe it.

I am bankruptcy attorney in San Diego.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis! 

 For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.