Chart of the Day: Economy has lost over 9 million full-time, year-round jobs

Today the U.S. Census Bureau will release a new set of income, poverty and health insurance data based on the American Community Survey. This survey is the one recommended for state-level analysis, and we will be analyzing its data carefully for what it tells us about the impact of the recession on Oklahoma households.

In the meantime, thanks to a long plane ride and my recurring tendency to pack novels in the wrong bag, I had a chance last week to look more closely at the Census Bureau’s other report on income, poverty and health insurance, the Current Population Survey, released two weeks ago (I can’t help but think of the show Newhart: “This is my Census Bureau survey Darryl, and this is my other Census Bureau survey Darryl”). The report included findings on work experience and earnings over the past year, along with historical comparisons. Despite having followed the path of the Great Recession closely over the past two years, I was astonished to read the following:

Between 2007 and 2009, the number of males working full-time year-round with earnings decreased by 6.9 million; the number of females working full-time year-round with earning decreased by 2.4 million.

Here are the annual numbers of full-time, year-round male and female workers going back to 1997:

Overall, there were 9.3 million, or 8.6 percent, fewer full-time, year-round (FT/YR) workers in 2009 than in 2007. The male FT/YR workforce has shrunk 10.9 percent in the past two years; while the female FT/YR workforce has shrunk by 5.0 percent. There were fewer men working FT/YR last year than in 1998, while the female FT/YR workforce remains 11.6 percent larger than in 1998. Last year, 68.4 percent of male workers worked full-time, year-round, compared to 59.2 percent of working women.

If there was any sliver of good news in this, it was that median earnings for those fortunate enough to maintain full-time, year-round employment went up: from $46,191 for men in 2008 to $47,127 and from $35,609 to $36,278 for women (adjusted for inflation).  However, as the Economic Policy Institute pointed out in their analysis of the data, the consequence of the significantly eroded work-time for men meant that overall, median income for men fell slightly in 2009, while for women, it rose.

This data can lead to important policy questions, some of which we discussed in this blog post from August of last year looking at the impact the recession was having on male employment. But for now, the main question we are left with is simply when, if ever, are those 9.3 million full-time, year-round jobs going to come back?


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

2 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Economy has lost over 9 million full-time, year-round jobs

  1. I was selected to complete the community survey. With 6 people in my household it was really tedious and time consuming. In our fast paced society I wonder how many people selected actually complete it? I know the importance of this kind of data so I’m an easy mark, but how many people selected really have the time and inclination?

  2. Interesting comment, Dale. I’m sure that’s a major issue for the Census Bureau, and probably one they can’t adjust for with great certainty. If they ever report that 100% of Oklahomans self-identified as “extremely liberal”, we’ll know that you are indeed the only one still taking the time to fill out the survey! 🙂

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