Job growth for men has slowed, according to the ADP Research Institute's Workforce Vitality Report. The report indicates that in Q1 of 2016 women experienced a 2.7 percent growth in overall employment while job growth among men increased only 0.9 percent. Female wage growth has also outpaced male wage growth in the previous four quarters.
The trends in job and wage growth are not necessarily correlated with efforts to close the gender gap in the workforce, however. Global economic conditions and U.S. trends in recent months have slowed growth in industries, including manufacturing, construction and energy, which are traditionally male-dominated fields.
What's Behind Slow Job Growth for Men?
While U.S. job growth remains strong, the March ADP National Employment Report reveals months of consecutive slowing in traditionally male-dominated industries. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, notes that the energy industry has continued to reduce payroll numbers in response to low oil prices. While manufacturing added 3,000 positions in March 2016, payrolls were reduced by 9,000 jobs in February, according to ADP's February 2016 report. The construction industry's most recent growth was a net increase of 17,000 positions, but that is 10,000 fewer jobs created than in February.
While the U.S. job market's health is the best it's been in years, males trained in manufacturing, energy and related industries may not be in a position to benefit from an increased demand for talented technologists, professional services employees or financial professionals.
Global Economic Factors
The drastic reduction in global oil prices may benefit consumers at the pump, but it's had a dramatic effect on U.S. states that are heavily involved in oil exploration and drilling. The New York Times reports that, in the U.S., there are "virtually no [oil] wells that are profitable to drill," given current global market conditions. The result has been a drastic decrease in payroll numbers and bleaker economic conditions in many U.S. states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. While economists are certain that industry prices and payrolls will recover, experts from Oil&Gas 360 predict that this event is many months away. In the meantime, professionals trained in the energy industry are facing slower job growth.
The U.S. dollar's strong global positioning is at least partially to blame for manufacturing's struggles. As The Washington Post highlights, the dollar's value is "a tough deal if you're an American exporter," who faces diminished profit margins and demands for U.S.-produced products in overseas markets. In addition, for manufacturing organizations based in the U.S., there is increased competition among imported products, which are produced more cheaply.
Higher job growth among female professionals compared to their male counterparts isn't necessarily an indicator that the gender gap is closing. It may be more a sign of global economic conditions, many of which are well outside the control of U.S.-based organizations in affected industries, including male-dominated energy and manufacturing.
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