Study Claims Single People Hit Harder By Unemployment Than Married Couples
A recent research study conducted by a Johns Hopkins economist has found that single people have taken a harder hit in regards to the steady rise in unemployment in recent years.
According to a paper presented recently at a major macroeconomics conference by Johns Hopkins economist Robert Moffitt, the rising unemployment that characterized the Great Recession actually started much earlier, in the year 2000. Until then, women’s employment in particular had been steadily rising — but after about 2000 it began to level out, and single women’s employment began a marked decline. Between 1999 and 2007, Moffitt writes, married women’s employment fell by about 0.3%, while the figure for single women dropped by 2.9%, or almost ten times as much (unmarried men also lost more jobs than married ones, but the difference was far smaller).
Moffitt isn’t sure what caused the drop — he writes that some of the decline in employment among men between 1999 and 2007 can be explained by known factors like changes in non-labor income (from sources like Social Security), but these factors don’t explain the drop among single women at all. He closes his report with a call for further study.
Regardless of causes, though, the effects of unemployment on unmarried women can be severe. They’re more likely to live in poverty, and they don’t have a spouse’s health insurance to rely on if they lose theirs. The fact that they’ve been disproportionately hard-hit for over a decade challenges the currently-popular argument that women are on the way to economic dominance. And it suggests that politicians whose focus of late has been trained on wives and mothers should consider the problems faced by women who are neither.
Do you think there’s any truth to these research findings?
Image via Shutterstock
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