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Jobless by gender; Differences in being out of work for men and women.

Byline: Binyamin Appelbaum

Women and men who have stopped working, and who live with children, overwhelmingly say they are spending more time with those children, according to the poll of nonworking Americans that The New York Times released last week, conducted in partnership with CBS News and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Almost 60 percent of the women say it has improved their relationship with their children, but only 22 percent of men say the same.

Working is in decline for both men and women in the United States. And many of the reasons are the same: weak growth, foreign competition, technological change. But as The Times highlighted in a pair of articles in recent days, there are also key differences in the out-of-work experiences of men and women -- differences with real consequences for the question of what it would take to get people back to work.

The poll results suggest that men are more burdened by pride. They are less willing to take a minimum wage job or an entry-level job in a new field.

Frank Walsh is unwilling to work for $10 an hour, which is roughly his wife's hourly wage as a teacher's assistant.

"She's just more willing,'' he told me. "She's just more accepting.''

At the same time, men also come across as more eager to work. They were almost twice as likely to say they were willing to commute more than an hour each way, and about 50 percent more likely to say they were willing to move to another city.

Similarly, men were much more willing than women to return to work for 25 percent less money than they made in their previous job.

The reason appears to be that women -- particularly those with children -- placed a higher value on being at home.

Mothers were much more likely than fathers to describe "family responsibilities'' as a reason they had not returned to work. This implies that it will take more to lure those women back to work.

"Often the challenge is insurmountable in part because there is a dearth of programs and policies in the United States to support women in their prime career and childbearing years,'' Times colleagues Claire Cain Miller and Liz Alderman wrote in their article on the decline of female employment.

Men who weren't working reported declines in well-being, with 43 percent saying their mental health was worse and 16 percent saying it was better, and with 41 percent saying their physical health was worse and 19 percent saying it was better.

Women reported almost no difference in physical health and a small decline in mental health, with 29 percent saying they felt worse and 25 percent saying they felt better.

The gender difference is also visible in the way nonworkers spend their days.

Nonworking women were more likely to say they were engaged in activities like volunteering, caring for family members and exercising.

The activities the men were more likely to be doing than the women? "Non-exercise leisure activities such as reading, watching TV and surfing the Internet.''

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Title Annotation:Business
Author:Appelbaum, Binyamin
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 16, 2014
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