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Robert Trigaux

From 'mancession' to 'hecovery'? Not in Florida's struggling economy



constructionpublixstpete2008williejallenjr.jpgWake up and good morning. When it comes to the economy, leave it to Florida to go its own way these days. The recent national buzz is all about how the so called "mancession" -- the recession driven by layoffs in businesses dominated by men -- is now turning into a slow recovery led by men and trailed by women. U.S. figures show unemployment for men fell to 9.7 percent last month, while the jobless rate for women rose to 8.6 percent, for a difference between the sexes of just 1.1 percentage point.

As this Slate article points out, "since the anemic recovery started in June 2009, men have picked up about 768,000 jobs and women have lost a further 218,000, according to a much-discussed Pew study that came out last week." Slate calls the recovery aa "hecovery."

Except, of course, in Florida. In 2010, the jobless rate for men in Florida was 12.3 percent, compared with only 9.7 percent for women. That's a difference of 2.6 percentage points, a gap that feels like the Grand canyon these days. (Not to mention that male unemployment in Florida is also 2.6 percentage points higher than that for men nationwide, while unemployment for women in Florida is 1.1 percentage point higher than the U.S. rate for women.)

So why the disparity? Why are men in Florida failing to rebound in the job market, at least as quickly as their brethren nationwide? 

hotel_maidap.jpgThe obvious answer, as noted by John Challenger in this Palm Beach Post story, is Florida's most bruised big industries like construction are male-dominated.  "In Florida, the sector that has been most heavily hit by the mancession, and is still in contraction, is construction," Challenger, head of the employment-consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago, told the Post. "There's no telling when construction is going to come back."

Indeed, new jobs in Florida are sprouting from female-oriented industries such as tourism and hospitality, state economist Rebecca Rust tells the Tampa Tribune in this story.

Many of those jobs, of course, pay less. But that's another sore topic for another day about Florida's future.

(Coonstruction photo by Willie J. Allen Jr., St. Petersburg Times. Hotel maid by AP.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 9:07am]


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