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Have We Gone From a Mancession to a Shecovery? Not Quite.
The jobs numbers that came out on Friday looked so much better than what we’re used to—or at least didn’t suck quite as hard as usual—that there was some victory dancing in the blogosphere. And there are certainly some positive signs. But a premature victory for women once again reared its head.
The fears of a mancession have returned in a new shape, as David Leonhardt wondered if we’re about to move out of the “hecovery” period—in which men made job gains while women lost them—to a “shecovery.” He points out that over the past two months, the number of employed men only rose by 83,000, while women were up 192,000 jobs.
There may be a problem with this data. A large part of the jump that Leonhardt saw in women’s employment is because the BLS, as it sometimes does, updated its population estimates, “finding” more women workers than had been previously accounted for. Yet it didn’t add those women evenly across the year. As Mike Konczal notes, “December showed women gaining 584,000 jobs as a result of statistical population adjustments that, in reality, should have been smoothed across a longer time frame.” The jump in women’s jobs is mostly artificial.
Still, the picture is starting to look better for women. Just as recently as August women were losing jobs, while men were getting back to work. Now women are starting to join in the economy’s very slow job creation: according to the National Women’s Law Center, they gained about one-third of the roughly 200,000 jobs added in January and February.