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Owner: dschwal07
Created: Jul 7, 2009
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Hours Worked by Sex, April 2009
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Men and women have been experiencing different effects during this current recession.  Perhaps one reason is that men and women tend to work different numbers of hours.  This article explores the difference between male and female hours among those who work.  A sample from the May Current population survey shows different patterns among 500 workers that depends on the sex of the worker.




Current news articles have described disparate effects of the recession by sex.  Male unemployment rates have now hit 10.6%, whereas female unemployment rates are at 8.3% (WSJ, 2009).  Part of why the recession may impact men differently from women is that men tend to work longer hours to begin with, and so laying off men would save more money.

To explore this possible effect, we will look at the distribution of hours worked among workers.  Taking a sample of workers from the Current Population Survey, we find that men do indeed work about 5 hours on average more than women.




The data are taken from the May 2009 wave of the Current Population Survey.  This monthly survey asked 153213 individuals about their labor force experience.  Among the 58,954 people who reported both their sex and working positive hours, 500 were randomly selected to analyze the difference between men and women.




The distribution of hours among all workers is fairly symmetric, centered around 40 hours per week, and spreading about 12 hours out on each side.


Result 1: Distribution of Hours Worked among Workers, April 2009   [Info]
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Result 2: Hours Summary Statistics   [Info]
Summary statistics:
Column n Mean Variance Std. Dev. Std. Err. Median Range Min Max Q1 Q3
hours 500 38.474 142.5865 11.940959 0.5340159 40 95 3 98 36 40


This sample in particular has individuals ranging from a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 98 hours worked per week.  The standard deviation among theses 500 individuals is 11.9 hours, with an interquartile range of 4 hours.

These results, differ between men and women, however.  We can see that although both groups have a large cluster of people at exactly 40 hours per week, there are more men reporting hours above 40, whereas there are more women reporting hours below 40.


Result 3: Male Hours Worked   [Info]
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Result 4: Hours Worked, Female   [Info]
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Average hours for men were 41.3 per week, whereas women worked 35.6 hours per week on average.  Male hours were in one dimension more variable, with a standard deviation of 12.5 hours, as opposed to women having 10.5 hours.  However, that is mostly explained by the thicker tails of the male distribution.  The male interquartile range is only 5, ranging from 40 to 45, whereas female hours in the center of the distribution were more variable, ranging by 9 hours from 31 to 40.


Result 5: Hours Summary Stats, by Sex   [Info]
Summary statistics for hours:
Group by: sex
sex n Mean Variance Std. Dev. Std. Err. Median Range Min Max Q1 Q3
FEMALE 248 35.572582 110.3267 10.503652 0.66698253 40 72 3 75 31 40
MALE 252 41.329365 158.39706 12.585589 0.7928176 40 94 4 98 40 45


To see the comparative difference of male and female hours worked, we can view their distributions side by side.


Result 6: Hours Worked, by Sex   [Info]
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The results indeed show that on average, men work about 6 hours more than women, and most men work around full time, whereas there are many more women working part time.  Given that benefits (an extra employment cost) are mostly tied to fulltime jobs, companies looking to reduce their expenses may try and layoff their more costly workers, who would tend to be men.  This may help explain why male unemployment  rates are higher than women's.



Coombes, Andrea "Men Suffer Brunt of Job Losses in Recession", Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2009, pp. D6

Data set 1. cpsmar09.csv   [Info]
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