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The American Workforce

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The American Workforce [#permalink]

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Hey gang,

I've seen some great debates on here and wanted to throw one more question in the ring - this one was written by one of my colleagues at Veritas and I think is a good example:


Within the past six months, women have, for the first time, become the majority of the American workforce. Despite comprising more than 50% of the population, women have always been outnumbered by men in the area of employment. However, with the recent recession, companies have been laying off manufacturing workers and those without college degrees at higher rates, while retaining better educated, younger workers and even hiring more workers in service industries.

Which of the following is best supported by the information above?

A) When the recession is over, men will again comprise the majority of the workforce.

B) At least one group of Americans has been underrepresented in employment.

C) More women are currently employed than at any time in the history of the United States.

D) There are now more jobs in the service sector than in any other sector of the economy.

E) Women are now earning more college degrees than men.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 14 Dec 2010, 21:42
VeritasPrepBrian wrote:
Hey gang,

I've seen some great debates on here and wanted to throw one more question in the ring - this one was written by one of my colleagues at Veritas and I think is a good example:


Within the past six months, women have, for the first time, become the majority of the American workforce. Despite comprising more than 50% of the population, women have always been outnumbered by men in the area of employment. However, with the recent recession, companies have been laying off manufacturing workers and those without college degrees at higher rates, while retaining better educated, younger workers and even hiring more workers in service industries.

Which of the following is best supported by the information above?

A) When the recession is over, men will again comprise the majority of the workforce.

B) At least one group of Americans has been underrepresented in employment.

C) More women are currently employed than at any time in the history of the United States.

D) There are now more jobs in the service sector than in any other sector of the economy.

E) Women are now earning more college degrees than men.


Really a good one.

A) When the recession is over, men will again comprise the majority of the workforce. Out of scope as not supported

B) At least one group of Americans has been underrepresented in employment. - Good one, now women are the majority, earlier men were. But I have a q for the creator, see... the no of men employed has decreased, while the no. of women employed has increased, so there could have been a point were equal number of men and women were employed. In terms of proportion,

Let the total number of men be 40
Women = 60.

The total number of men employed = 20 or 50 %
similarly for women = 30 or 50 %

So the proportion of women and men employed is equal Right?


C) More women are currently employed than at any time in the history of the United States. - One of the most enticing one. There could have been a scenario in which the women proportion was low. If more men and fewer women were kicked out, women proportion can increase but the number employed has decreased.

D) There are now more jobs in the service sector than in any other sector of the economy. - Not necessarily

E) Women are now earning more college degrees than men. - Maybe that women who were already employed had college degrees and weren't kicked out of the company. We dont know whether the total number of jobs available has decreased or increased.
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2010, 16:43
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Good question.
But I think that there is not a clear definition of workforce.
Does the workforce include the people who are able and want to work but are unemployed?
Remember that Economics include that people.
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2010, 03:25
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Really good one, little tricky....
+1 B
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2010, 07:55
This question is deceivingly difficult.

I'd have to go with B
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2010, 11:57
Great breakdown, mailnavin1! I think you nailed it. The correct answer here is B - as in all Inference questions, the correct answer is something that MUST BE TRUE based on the stimulus.

C is tricky, but not necessarily true. The only information we have is based specifically on percentages/proportions - we don't know about the total number. It could very well be that in this current recession many people have taken themselves out of the workforce, so there are fewer people overall in that pool, but women simply account for a larger percentage. Because we don't know anything about actual numbers - just percentages - we can't draw this conclusion even though it's pretty likely.

B is much more readily proven - we know that women comprise more than 50% of the population but have always been outnumbered by men, so they are that "at least one group" that has been underrepresented.


Great point, metallican - "workforce" does account for all potential workers (including those looking for jobs), and I can't say for certain whether the author of this question intended specifically to use that term or whether he wanted to talk about the current number employed. I don't think the distinction matters for this question, though - the correct answer uses a fairly vague "in employment", so the presence of women in the workforce does point toward that, and the rest of the passage still flows (it may well be that the manufacturing employees who have lost their jobs have taken themselves out of the workforce...those extended unemployment benefits sound like a pretty sweet deal to me right now, slaving away behind a desk!).
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 26 Apr 2011, 07:59
actually by poe i reached B, though i did not understand what B precisely meant. 'at least one group' was a bit unclear. but rest of the options could be logically eliminated , so B
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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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Re: The American Workforce [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 12:26
I agree, I didn't understand what "at least one group" meant. To me this also seemed very opinionated in its representation, like when you have a question about the environment and the answer choices include the polar opposite political archetype responses (like "global warming is a hoax" or "oil industry is the sole cause of global warming"). I narrowed down the choices to B and C, but chose C because of the above thought process. I know its not a hard and fast rule but given the time constraints and processing of vague information thats the conclusion I reached here.
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Re: The American Workforce   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2017, 12:26
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