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Canada’s jobs recovery: Unbalanced at best Add to ...

Tammy Schirle is an Associate Professor of Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University

Recovery from the recession has been slow, and as Miles Corak pointed out the recession doesn’t affect everyone equally.

It is well known that the business cycle tends to affect men and women differently.

In September 2008, the unemployment rates of men climbed much higher than women’s and men’s employment took a steeper dive. ( Yaqin Hu shows similar results for Ontario.)

What I found interesting is that after men’s employment prospects started recovering at the beginning of 2010, women’s employment trended down and their unemployment rates rose slightly over the year. We don’t see men’s and women’s employment and unemployment trending together again until 2011.

It makes sense to believe these gender differences reflect differences in how industries have fared since the start of the recession and some research has shown this to be the case (eg. Wilkins and Wooden).

In Canada, we can see clear differences across industries. The large spike in men’s 2008 unemployment rate is easily to linked layoffs in manufacturing and other male-dominated industries. In 2010, while manufacturing slowly recovers, we see that some industries’ employment stagnated (public administration) or fell slightly (accommodation and food services and real estate). What is most striking from the graph below is the continued decline in employment among businesses that manage companies and enterprises.

Businesses continue to restructure. The aggregate employment numbers tell us the economy is slowly recovering from the recession. However, it is important to break down those numbers when stimulus dollars are being distributed.

Policy makers need to recognize that not all industries are recovering equally -- and some are not recovering at all.

Economy Lab, winner of the 2011 Eppy Award for best business blog. Follow Economy Lab on twitter

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