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Unemployed men suffer more than women

Posted: December 22, 2014 9:45 a.m.
Updated: December 22, 2014 9:45 a.m.
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Males are less likely to accept jobs with low wages and more likely to suffer from depression, according to the poll.

Weak growth, foreign competition and technological change have caused many Americans to be out of work, but men are handling unemployment harder than women, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by the New York Times, CBS News and Kaiser Family Foundation, found that unemployment affects mental, physical and social health. It also shifts the way people spend their time.

Although these factors affect both men and women, males are less likely to accept jobs with low wages and more likely to suffer from depression, according to the poll.

Sixteen percent of men in their prime, ages 25-54, are unemployed, a statistic that has more than tripled since 1960, Binyamin Appelbaum wrote in a New York Times article about the decline of the working male.

Appelbaum attributes men’s lack of accepting low-wage jobs to America’s changed society, including federal disability benefits, the decline of marriage and the increase of the Internet, which provides distractions so men do not feel so isolated.

On the other hand, men are twice as likely as women to commute to a job and 50 percent more willing to move out of state for work, according to the poll.

Women, specifically those with children, have more of a desire to stay at home and consider family responsibilities to be a reason to not return to work, the poll said.

“Often the challenge is insurmountable in part because there is a dearth of programs and policies in the United States to support women in their prime career and childbearing years,” Claire Cain Miller and Liz Alderman wrote in the New York Times about why American women are leaving the workplace.

While 59 percent of women said they spent more time with their children since becoming unemployed, just 22 percent of men said the same, according to the poll.

Similarly, nearly 50 percent of unemployed women reported to have spent more time caring for their spouse or a parent, while just 36 percent of unemployed men said the same, according to the poll.

“For most unemployed men, life without work is not easy,” Appelbaum wrote in his article. “About two dozen men described days spent mostly at home, chewing through dwindling resources, relying on friends, strangers and the federal government.”

Forty three percent of unemployed men reported to have experienced a decline in mental health, whereas 29 percent of unemployed women experienced mental health problems, according to the poll.

Many women actually enjoy being out of work, the poll suggests.

About one third of unemployed women spend more time exercising and volunteering and 26 percent report having better health.

“Women are often not desperate to return to work,” Miller and Alderman wrote. “Women are more likely to say that not working has improved their romantic relationships, while men are more likely to say those relationships have suffered.”

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