Recession's victimsIt takes men five to seven months to...


August 19, 1991

Recession's victims

It takes men five to seven months to find a new job, but it takes women an average of two months longer, a new study shows.

And most women who recently lost jobs worked in the low-paying secondary labor market as salespeople, cashiers, waitresses, janitors and clerical workers. For these women, the economic slowdown is not a recession. It's a depression.

That is the conclusion of a new study, "The Recession's Invisible Victims: Women Sales and Service Workers," published by the Women's Research and Education Institute, a Washington-based non-profit organization.

"Women are hit harder during a recession because their wages are lower than men's in the first place, and they are less likely to have savings," said Betty Dooley, executive director of the research group. "Their skills are broader and less transferable to new jobs. Fewer women than men are eligible for unemployment insurance. And because this recession hit the service sector the hardest -- where women make up 53 percent of all workers -- there are few jobs in our present economy for them."

Some of the study's findings:

*In 1990, there were 10.2 million women in retail trades and 23 million in service occupations, both fields hit hard by the recession.

*In 1987, 680,000 of the women who were heads of households worked in sales. Of that number, 36.5 percent were near or below the poverty level.

*In 1987, 1.7 million female heads of household worked in service jobs, and 50 percent were at or near poverty levels.

*In 1990, women earned $18,096 annually, men $25,220. Women in retail earned $15,184 annually, men $26,260. In service jobs, women made $11,960, men $16,640. All figures are medians.

*In 1991, 2.6 million women who wanted to work full time could only find part-time jobs.

Job-finding tips

Looking for a new job? Need to improve your job-hunting skills?

If you're entering the job market for the first time, re-entering after years of not working or looking to move from a dead-end job, there's a new publication to help you.

"Tips for Finding the Right Job," from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, offers 28 pages of practical information. Included are sample resumes and cover letters, tips for interviewing and taking tests, suggestions for following up an interview and a job-search checklist.

"Tips for Finding the Right Job" can be ordered for $1.25 from the Superintendent of Documents at Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, D.C. 20401-9328. Or you can call (202) 783-3238.

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