There have been few people in this country who have been unaffected by the recession.
However, one large group of people are reportedly having a tougher time than most: women.
Orange County Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Vincent Howard understands that recent economic figures are showing that since the recession officially ended in June of 2009, men scored 80 percent of the more than 2.5 million new jobs created. Just in the last year, they have landed more than 60 percent of new jobs.
What this means is that women are either stuck in lower-earning, fewer-benefit jobs or they haven't been able to get a job at all. This phenomenon is inevitably resulting in more women filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Orange County and throughout the country.
Those who are unemployed or underemployed end up relying heavily on credit or other means just to make ends meet. Plus, stress can lead to medical problems, and many who are struggling financially can't pay the minimums on their medical bills. All of that means that even if you do land a job, you are mired in debt that can seem insurmountable. And you're probably right - when you get into a cycle of debt, getting out on your own sometimes simply isn't possible.
The good news is that a bankruptcy allows those debts to be discharged, giving you an opportunity to start with a clean slate.
But why are women having such a difficult time?
Federal job data indicates that men are increasingly more apt to snap up jobs that once traditionally went to women. These would include areas such as retail and nursing.
Just looking at retail, for example, just a handful of years ago, women were the primary holders of retail jobs in the country, and it's been that way for decades. But since late 2009, more than 440,000 retail jobs have been given to men. Meanwhile, women lost nearly 50,000 retail jobs during this same time. In fact, men are now the majority in retail, accounting for 51 percent of the estimated 15 million retail jobs in this country.
This raises potential questions of discrimination in hiring, though that can be difficult to prove. Some economists think part of the reason might be that men as a whole tend to have longer work histories, giving them a slight edge.
What's more, women have traditionally dominated fields that have in recent years been more prone to the chopping block - fields like teaching and clerical work.
One example given by the Associated Press was a 26-year-old single mother of a 10-month-old baby. She was laid off from her job as a teacher, and is able to scrape by with unemployment benefits after moving back home. But it isn't sustainable. If she doesn't find work soon, she isn't sure what she'll do.
Many single moms, relying on a sole income, are often at a financial disadvantage to begin with. For them, the recession has been a double blow.
We can help.
New jobs go mostly to men, By Don Lee, Tribune Washington Bureau