"Our research reveals that Georgia now has historically high levels of unemployment among male workers," said Thurmond. "Men tend to dominate employment in construction and manufacturing, two of the industries that have been hardest hit by layoffs in our state."
The number of men drawing unemployment insurance (UI) benefits between December of 2007, the official beginning of the current recession, and May of 2009 rose 160 percent, up from 34,136 to 88,612. Jobless males now make up 57.6 percent of Georgians receiving UI benefits. During the same period, the number of white males receiving UI benefits increased 211 percent, while the number of black males receiving UI benefits rose 106 percent.
Prior to the recession, African-American women comprised the largest demographic group receiving state UI benefits. By March of 2009, they had become the smallest. White males have become the largest demographic group receiving state UI benefits.
The high level of male unemployment is not just a Georgia phenomenon. The current "Great Recession" is having a devastating impact on males throughout the United States. Almost 80 percent of the more than 6.5 million Americans who have lost jobs since the beginning of the recession have been men.
"Immediate steps must be taken to encourage unemployed men to pursue careers in non-traditional female-dominated sectors, such as nursing and allied health," said Thurmond. "I encourage federal, state and local policy makers to recognize that the socio-economic pathologies associated with high levels of male unemployment will have broad policy implications for Georgia’s 21st century workforce."
The white paper, "Georgia Men Hit Hardest by Recession, December 2007-May 2009," can be downloaded from the Spotlight section at www.dol.state.ga.us.