December 17, 2018

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Red-Hot Economy? Women Aren’t Convinced

Red-Hot Economy? Women Aren’t Convinced
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“I think the unemployment rate they talk about on TV is misleading,” she said.

Ms. Shue-Willis said she wasn’t sure whom she would vote for next month. She isn’t impressed by her Republican congressman, Scott Taylor — or by almost anyone else in Congress, a group she called “a bunch of squabbling hypocrites.”

It isn’t clear what, beyond partisanship, is driving the gender divide on the economy. Men have not notably outperformed women in their economic fortunes since Mr. Trump took office. Women have, if anything, received a slightly disproportionate share of jobs, and the pay gap for full-time workers narrowed slightly last year.

But hiring has been especially strong in male-dominated sectors such as manufacturing, construction and mining, noted Jed Kolko, chief economist for the job-search site Indeed. That growth, Mr. Kolko said, may be making men more optimistic — particularly because those same sectors had been in a long slump.

“We are in this unexpected and perhaps temporary moment where job growth is faster on average in traditionally male-dominated jobs,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s policies, Mr. Kolko said, probably have little to do with the blue-collar rebound. But that may not matter. Amber Wichowsky, a political-science professor at Marquette University, said that during the Obama administration, white men — particularly those without a college degree — reported feeling that their social status was eroding. Now that might be reversing.

“Their guy’s in office, the economy’s doing well, it’s an even bigger shot in the arm,” Ms. Wichowsky said. “The psychology’s really important.”

Even with the unemployment rate under 4 percent, however, millions of Americans are stuck in part-time or low-paying jobs, and many families have barely begun to recover from the Great Recession.



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