Something strange happened on the way to the unemployment line in March.
In addition to the big disappointment in overall hiring, the month was brutal for married men but excellent for married women, according to numbers released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In all, there were 90,000 fewer married males at work, while the total of married women with jobs soared by 352,000 in March. That's according to data from the household survey that the BLS conducts separate from its establishment survey of businesses.
There's more bad news for the guys.
The pivotal 25-to-64 age group category — once considered the "breadwinner" group — saw a decline of 47,000 and is down three months in a row, which is, according to David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff, the longest streak since the economic recovery began in 2009.
The 2017 total drop is 97,000 for that age group. Across all classifications, the rolls of working males fell by 5,000 in March, but are up by 275,000 for the year.
The household survey ostensibly served as a positive counterpoint to the establishment survey's count of just 98,000 net new jobs. In all, the household count showed 472,000 more working Americans.
However, the big skew toward women painted a conflicting picture. The survey showed total female (married and single) employment growth of 475,000 in March. (The numbers are rounded, so the math doesn't add up perfectly.)
"This goes down as one of the more bizarre employment reports I have seen in many moons," Rosenberg said in a report for clients.
While he did note the role that weather played — an unseasonably warm January and February that pulled job creation forward and a March snowstorm that slowed it down — he said the report was still disappointing.
"There truly were few redeeming features in the payroll data," he said.
Overall, males still outnumber females in the workforce, 81.2 million to 71.9 million.
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