Basic arithmetic is out the window as the Times helps us get Ready For Hillary!
Let's start with a quiz: do you have what it takes to report for the Times?
Here is their graphic showing changes in workforce participation by age and gender since the start of the recession.
Unless those charts are mislabeled (and all the talk of a 'mancession' was misplaced), women are showing smaller declines (or larger increases for the oldsters) then men in every age category except 35-44, which is a virtual tie.
So what story does the Times draw from this?
For Women in Midlife, Career Gains Slip Away
Not men, too?
Ms. Murphy is part of a small but economically significant group that is bucking a powerful decades-long movement of women of all ages into the labor market. In the years since the last recession began, many women like Ms. Murphy, in their late 40s and early 50s, have left the work force just as they were reaching their peak earning years.
The demands on middle-aged women to care for their parents, particularly during difficult economic times that force many families to share resources, are not the only reason for the shift. Some economists also attribute the unexpected phenomenon to extensive budget cuts by state and local governments, which employ women in large numbers and were hit harder during this recession than in previous downturns.
As the economy struggles to get back on track, the labor participation rate remains feeble for almost everyone. Still, the losses affecting this group of women — who normally would be in the prime of their careers — stand out from the crowd and highlight the challenges facing middle-aged workers who, for whatever reason, find themselves out of a job.
Apparently many men (more so than women) in this age range were also leaving the workforce. The Times explains why no one cares:
Men, too, have been pushed out of the labor market as jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries have been slow to return. But the rate of decline among adult men has largely tracked the curves of the economy and has been spread more evenly across ages.
Oh, please. Among the many problems with this story:
1. Where Is The Baseline? How has male and female participation been affected by past recessions? And should the Times, or anyone, wonder why female participation was drifting down before the last recession?
2. You're Not Getting Older, You're Getting Better: how is it that women 55 and older are able to stay in the workforce? Their participation has gone up, which makes sense if people want to cling to their job and rebuild their 201(k). But how did they dodge the problems of aging parents and public sector layoffs that hit women a few years younger?
3. What Is The Common Core Math? Some of the Times numbers are hard to decode. We are told that
Since the start of the recession, the number of working women 45 to 54 has dropped more than 3.5 percent.
However, from the chart on the right showing workforce participation I see a decline for women of about 2.6 percent. However, the chart on the left provides a hint as to the possible legerdemain in play. Using my eyeballometric scanner I think that overall female participation has fallen from 59.2 percent at the start of the recession to 57.2 percent now. That would commonly be described as a 2 percent decline.
However, the accompanying text says that the percentage change since the start of the recession is -3.5%. A headscratcher! But it is nearly true that 57.2 is 3.5% less than 59.2, and 59.2 is 3.5% more than 57.2, so that is probably their ploy.
So the next time the Times has a poll where Obama's disapproval rate rises from 48 pct. to 54 pct. we all know they will headline a twelve percent increase in Obama's disapproval, right? Or maybe not.
Their commitment to writing about problems faced by working women clearly transcended the statistics on offer.