Why Women Are Staying Unemployed For A Longer Time Than Men

The number of job vacancies in August reached the highest level since 2001.

But unemployed women aren’t applying to those jobs as aggressively as unemployed men. This is because when women lose their employment, they are more likely to leave the labour force than men are.

Wells Fargo’s John Silvia argues in a new research note that this is a reflection of old gender roles:

“Unemployed women have traditionally had a higher propensity to leave the labour force than their male counterparts. Their historical role as the secondary breadwinner and other family responsibilities likely alter the urgency at which unemployed women seek employment (as well as overall participation rates). The gap between transitioning to a job and exiting the labour force for women, however, has been exacerbated by low rates of finding employment. While a rising share of unemployed women are finding work, only around 20 per cent are becoming employed versus 25 per cent dropping out of the workforce.”

Silvia also notes that the transition rate from unemployment to employment is low by historical standards. In August, just 22 per cent of unemployed people found jobs within a month, compared to 30 per cent prior to the 2001 recession.

Still, these two charts show that there’s a gender gap in who decides to find a new job.

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