Unemployment Unequal

Photo by Frank Serritelli  ((

Serritelli, Frank. “Laying Down on the Job.” Flickr. 15 Feb 2008. 10 Dec 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/illetirres/2267425552/>.

I’d meant to blog about this a few days ago, when Christa McAuliffe Conference organizer, Cyndi Dunlap forwarded this Boston Globe article to me and fellow keynote speaker Yong Zhao.  It seems that the layoffs we are hearing about nearly every day are not impacting us across the board.

Men are losing jobs at far greater rates than women as the industries they dominate, such as manufacturing, construction, and investment services, are hardest hit by the downturn. Some 1.1 million fewer men are working in the United States than there were a year ago, according to the Labor Department. By contrast, 12,000 more women are working.

Let me repeat that!  1,100,000 fewer men working today.  12,000 more women working today.  We could go in so many directions comparing men-jobs with women-jobs.  But what concerns us, as educators, is skills that will live out all of the shifts and flips of today’s work world, a characteristic that shows no evidence of ending any time soon.

We’re seeing a shift from economies based on making things to economies based on serving people.  According to the article, 70 percent of workers in manufacturing are men — a shrinking shard of the economic pie that lost another 500,000 jobs over the last year.  Healthcare, on the other hand, where 80 percent of the workers are women, added more than 400,000 jobs during the same time period.  Construction, of which 90 percent of the workers are men, lost another 500,000 jobs.

Of course, this is not a gender thing.  It is about how globalization and technology have changed how we can be of value to the market place.  Manufacturing is shifting to other parts of the world, and I suspect that the trend toward automation will likely continue.  Technology has made everything personal.  So attention to the personal is desired.  It is valuable.

It seems that one way to adapt to this in the classroom would be to make learning more sociable — to connect learners to content and to each other in new ways that ask them to serve each other.

What do you think?

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.