Cha's work looked at 8, professional workers and 17, nonprofessional workers from dual-earner families, using data collected by the U. Census Bureau. Her analysis shows that overall, having a husband who works 60 hours or more per week increases a woman's odds of quitting by 42 percent. However, for husbands, having a wife who works 60 hours or more per week does not significantly affect a man's odds of quitting.
The odds of quitting increase by 51 percent for professional women whose husbands work 60 hours or more per week, and for professional mothers the odds they will quit their jobs jumps percent. By contrast, for professional men, both parents and non-parents, the effects a wife working long hours are negligible. According to analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research of Bureau of Labor Statistics data that tracks workers who lost a job within the prior three years due to their plant closing or position being abolished, among men, in , 65 percent who had been displaced from a full-job had found another full-time job, whereas in , only 40 percent had found re-employment.
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For women, in , 51 percent had found full-time re-employment, much less than men, while in , only 38 percent had done so, about the same as men. Re-employment has been limited even as the economy is now in economic recovery because of a lack of demand for workers. Over the course of , there was an average of five job seekers for every opening available.
The challenges in re-employment can be seen in the high shares of long-term unemployed, that is, those out of work and searching for a job for at least six months. This provides some indication that the lack of re-employment options is a big factor in the depth of male and female unemployment. During the Great Recession the share of unemployed husbands who were long-term unemployed was the same as the share of unemployed wives see Figure 3. This contrasts with the recovery years of the s and s when it was more common for unemployed husbands rather than unemployed wives to be long-term unemployed.
The typical woman earns 77 cents on the male dollar, and with her lower wages, her family suffers, too. With so many wives and unmarried women supporting their families, there is a need for women to be paid fairly. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which will take steps to remedy pay inequities, passed the House of Representatives in early but was unable to garner sufficient votes in the Senate to even get to take a vote on the legislation.
The rise in dual-earner couples has been especially large among older couples. Between and , the share of couples where the older spouse was between the ages of 55 to 64 rose from over one-third The Great Recession led to a larger rise in unemployment among older couples compared to younger couples. Comparing the peak unemployment years and , the share of married couples who have one spouse employed and one unemployed has increased most among couples where the older spouse is between the ages of 55 and It is husbands in older couples who are more likely to be unemployed, as with the unemployment pattern among couples overall.
In , older couples were less likely than younger couples to experience any unemployment. But in , the share of couples with an unemployed husband is about the same across couples aged 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 to In , the largest spousal gap in unemployment is among the oldest couples and among those where the older spouse is aged 55 to Husbands are 42 percent more likely to be the spouse unemployed.
Higher unemployment among older husbands has implications for family well-being now and for the retirement income of these families. That pay penalty accumulates over time and increases the gender pay gap. Further, this group of workers is having a much harder time finding re-employment compared to younger workers.
In January , among displaced workers between ages 55 and 64, nearly two-thirds of women By contrast, among workers aged 35 to 44, half of men Most of the full-time workers who were displaced who find re-employment earn less than they had before they were displaced and among older workers, about half are making at least 20 percent less.
Dual-career commuter couples
Given these data it is quite possible that many of these workers will never be re- employed. And if they do it will be at much lower earnings than their prior job, which has significant implications for planning for Social Security.
This is especially important because the U. Older couples make up a larger share of married couples in than they did in The older spouse was aged 45 to 64 in 41 percent of married couples in , compared to 57 percent in Poor employment outcomes for this group is thus providing a relatively large demographic with less in earnings exactly at the same time that they need to be preparing for retirement. High unemployment among older couples should give serious pause to the growing chorus of voices clamoring to pare back government pensions and limit Social Security benefits for future retirees.
Older workers have been hit by not only high unemployment but also the housing and stock market crashes, which have deflated their retirement assets. There are long-standing disparities in unemployment by race and ethnicity. It is typically the case that African Americans have an unemployment rate that is double that of whites.
Dual Earner Parents Strategies for Reconciling Work and Care in Seven European countries
We can also see significant differences in spousal unemployment by race and ethnicity. In , African-American husbands were 71 percent more likely to be unemployed than their African-American wives and nearly twice as likely as husbands in white couples to be unemployed. This was the case even as African-American wives had significant lower unemployment in than , 3.
Lack of employment opportunities for African-American men continues to be a problem even among those who are married. Even though husbands are disproportionately less likely to be among the ex-offender population the employment challenges of that group plays a role for many African-American men in further compounding their historically high exclusion from employment opportunities.
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Bucking the general marital unemployment trend, in , Hispanics wives were slightly more likely to be unemployed than Latino husbands. Further, that year, the share of Hispanic wives who were unemployed was actually lower than had been the case in , though by a smaller margin than other groups of wives.
Some of this success in maintaining employment may be because of an increase in the number of college-educated Latinas in the last three decades, which has far outpaced other demo- graphic groups. Since higher-educated individuals suffer unemployment less than less-educated individuals, this has undoubtedly provided Latinas with some insulation from unemployment in the Great Recession compared to prior recessions. Clearly, ensuring that everyone who wants it has access to education is an important policy goal and one that can help individual workers to find and keep jobs.
But policymakers should also work to close the unemployment gap between workers across ethnicity and race, so that some groups—African-American men in particular—do not bear a disproportionate share of unemployment. High unemployment hits families hard regardless of who has lost their job.