Working Paper No. 6 - Assessing the impact of the attacks of 11 September 2001 on women's employment in the United States

This paper examines whether women’s employment is likely to have been more affected by the impact of the events of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath than men’s employment. It would be hard to avoid the post-hoc fallacy, in any case, but in this situation, data for the period are incomplete, particularly for gender.

In a post-September 11 world, this paper aims to study this event's impact on employment in the United States and how it may have specifically touched women. Although on a general level statistics showed that women were not more affected than men, further analysis shows that reform in unemployment insurance and welfare systems is necessary to better accommodate women.
Recalling that on average women's wages are about 25 percent lower than men's, 60 percent of low income workers (who were most adversely affected by September 11) are women, in the most directly affected industries of air transport, travel, retail trade, hotel, and manufacturing, women were proportionately more affected than men, and overall women are less likely to get unemployment benefits, therefore an improved security net and potential job creation is essential to support these women and equalize the hardships. The example of Hawaii, which has a predominantly tourism focused industry, is used to show how the state managed to encourage employment. It uses direct job creation and government bonds for construction, which avoided the predicted high unemployment rates due to September 11. On the whole, the paper aims to bring awareness on the currently unequal unemployment benefits system so that potential employment difficulties in the future will not be biased to one gender over the other, and thus suggests changes in this area.