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Unemployment & the Economy

About Unemployment & the Economy

IWPR publishes occasional analyses of the impact of the business cycle on women’s employment outcomes. Between December 2007 and June 2009, the U.S. economy was in the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Because much of the slowdown has occurred in traditionally male fields such as manufacturing and construction—while a few traditionally female fields such as health and education have shown job growth or minimal job loss—many reports have focused on the job losses among men in the labor force. IWPR highlighted that:

    • Substantial job losses have also occurred among women in such sectors as retail, hospitality, and personal and business services. Women lost about 2 million jobs between December 2007 and June 2009 and unemployment was 8.4 percent of women aged 16 and over as of November 2010.
    • Once they lose their jobs, women and men spend a similar number of weeks unemployed; in December 2009, unemployed women and men had been out of work for an astounding 29 weeks, on average.
    • A smaller share of unemployed women collect unemployment insurance benefits compared with unemployed men. Between December 2007 and November 2009, 36.8 percent of unemployed women received unemployment benefits, on average, compared with 40.3 percent of unemployed men.

    Resources

    Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are ; Women’s Recovery Strengthens in Year Four | Briefing Paper

    Women's and Men's Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession | Briefing Paper

    Are Women Now Half the Labor Force? The Truth about Women and Equal Participation in the Labor Force | Briefing Paper

    Visit our external resources page for more information on this topic.

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    Latest Reports from IWPR

    Women Gained 127,000 Jobs in October; Men Still 71,000 Short from Pre-Recession Employment Levels
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the November employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (139,680,000 jobs in October 2014 vs. 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007, when the recession began), men are still short 71,000 jobs from the start of the recession. In October, men gained 87,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while women gained 127,000 for an increase of 214,000 total jobs in October.

     

    Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are; Women Recover Jobs Lost in Recession in Year Five
    by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Elyse Shaw, and Rachel O'Connor (November 2014)

    While the number of jobs dropped steeply, particularly for men, in the Great Recession, slow job growth has characterized the recovery. In the first two years of the recovery, men saw faster job growth than women. By the third year of recovery, in terms of share of jobs lost that were regained, women’s job growth saw pronounced gains and largely caught up to men’s. Within the recovery’s fourth year, the percentage of lost jobs regained by women overall exceeded that of lost jobs regained by men. The fifth year of recovery saw women surpass their pre-recession levels of employment, while men have not yet made up their recession job losses. As of June 2014, men had regained 90.1 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession and women had regained 136.3 percent of theirs.

     

    Stronger Job Growth in September Puts Men within Striking Distance of their Pre-Recession Employment Level
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (October 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the October employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (139,435,000 jobs in September 2014 vs. 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007 when the recession began), men are still short 142,000 jobs from the start of the recession. In September, men gained 147,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while women gained 101,000 for an increase of 248,000 total jobs in September. The unemployment rate decreased to 5.9 percent in September from 6.1 percent in August.

     

    Women Gained 2 Out of Every 3 Jobs Added in August; Men Still Short 350,000 Jobs from Pre-Recession Employment Levels
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the September employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (139,118,000 jobs in August 2014 vs 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007 when the recession began), men are still short 350,000 from the start of the recession. In August, men gained 51,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while women gained 91,000 for an increase of 142,000 total jobs in August. The unemployment rate decreased to 6.1 percent in August from 6.2 percent in July, essentially the same.

     

    With Much-Needed Job Growth in July, Men Have Recovered 94% of Jobs They Lost in Recession
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (August 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the August employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (139,004,000 jobs in July 2014 vs 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007 when the recession began), men are still short 392,000 from their prerecession peak. In July, men gained 141,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while women gained 68,000 for an increase of 209,000 total jobs in July. BLS revisions of prior payroll jobs data for two previous months increased the number of jobs gained by men in May and June by 70,000, but decreased the number of jobs gained for women by 50,000 during the same period. For May, June, and July, two of three new jobs went to men. The unemployment rate increased to 6.2 percent in July from 6.1 percent in June, essentially the same.

     

    Job Growth in June Strong for Women and Men; Men Still Short 582,000 Jobs from Pre-Recession Peak
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (July 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the July employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (138,780,000 jobs in June 2014 vs 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007 when the recession began), men are still short 582,000 from their pre-recession peak. Women regained their peak in September 2013. In June, women gained 158,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while men gained 130,000 for an increase of 288,000 total jobs in June. The unemployment rate decreased to 6.1 percent in June from 6.3 percent in May.

     

    Men Still 699,000 Jobs Short of Employment Recovery; Strong Job Gains in May for Men and Women in Female-Dominated Industries
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (June 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the June employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered (138,463,000 jobs in May 2014 vs. 138,350,000 jobs in December 2007, when the recession began), men are still short 699,000 from their prerecession peak. Women regained their peak in August 2013. In May, women gained 86,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls, while men gained 131,000 for an increase of 217,000 total jobs in May. In the past year, men have gained more than half the new jobs added (53 percent vs. 47 percent for women).

     

    Women Gained 166,000 Jobs in April; Men Gained 51 Percent of Jobs Added in the Past Year
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained 166,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls in April, while men gained 122,000 for an increase of 288,000 total jobs in April. Women’s employment growth was strongest in Professional and Business Services (42,000 jobs gained by women), Education and Health Services (33,000 jobs gained by women), Leisure and Hospitality (27,000 jobs gained by women), Retail Trade (24,000 jobs gained by women, and Government (13,000 jobs gained by women).

     

    Women Gained 99,000 Jobs in March
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (April 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the April employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained 99,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls in March, while men gained 93,000 for an increase of 192,000 jobs in March. In March, women’s employment growth was strongest in Professional and Business Services (29,000 jobs gained by women), Retail Trade (26,000 jobs gained by women), Education and Health Services (24,000 jobs gained by women), and Leisure and Hospitality (15,000 jobs gained by women).

     

    Women Gained 99,000 Jobs in February
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (March 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the March employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained 99,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls in February, while men gained 76,000 for a net increase of 175,000 jobs in February. In February, women’s employment growth was strongest in Professional and Business Services (55,000 jobs gained by women), Education and Health Services (24,000 jobs gained by women), Leisure and Hospitality (14,000 jobs gained by women), Financial Activities (12,000 jobs gained by women), and Government (11,000 jobs gained by women). Women lost 16,000 jobs in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities including 10,000 jobs in Retail Trade alone.

     

    Men Gained 164,000 Jobs in January
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (February 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the February employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women lost 51,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls in January while men gained 164,000 for a net increase of 113,000 jobs in January. In January, women’s employment growth was weakest in Government (30,000 jobs lost by women) and Professional and Business Services (14,000 jobs lost by women).

     

    Job Growth Slows in December: Women Gained All 74,000 Jobs Added to Payrolls
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (January 2014)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained 75,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in December while men lost 1,000 for a net increase of 74,000 jobs in December. Because women continued to add jobs in the past month, as of December, women hold more jobs on payrolls than ever. Men have regained 75 percent (4.5 million) of the jobs they lost between December 2007 and the trough for men’s employment in February 2010 (6 million). The gap between women’s and men’s employment is 1.5 million jobs in December, substantially less than at the start of the recession (3.4 million jobs in December 2007).

     

    Job Growth Continues with 203,000 Jobs Added in November
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (December 2013)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the December employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 203,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in November, women gained 94,000 of those jobs (46 percent) while men gained 109,000 jobs (54 percent).

     

    Number of Women’s Jobs on Payrolls Reaches Highest Level Ever; More Than 200,000 New Jobs in October 2013 for Men and Women
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2013)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the November employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 204,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in October, women gained 90,000 of those jobs (44 percent) while men gained 114,000 jobs (56 percent).

     

    Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are; Women’s Recovery Strengthens in Year Four
    by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Elyse Shaw, and Elizabeth Pandya (November 2013)

    While the number of jobs dropped steeply, particularly for men, in the Great Recession, slow job growth has characterized much of the recovery. In the first two years of the recovery men saw faster job growth than women. In the third year of recovery, women's job growth saw pronounced gains and had largely caught up to men's. Strong gains continued for women into the fourth year of recovery where, overall, the percentage of job’s recovered for women surpassed that of men’s. As of June 2013, men had regained 68 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession and women had regained 91 percent of the jobs they lost.

     

    Women's Jobs Reaching Pre-Recession Numbers
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (October 2013)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the October employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 148,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in September, women gained 76,000 of those jobs (51 percent) while men gained 72,000 jobs (49 percent).

     

    125,000 Jobs Gained by Women in August: Job Growth for Women Continues to Accelerate
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2013)

    According to the IWPR analysis of the September employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth remained anemic in August for men, but accelerated slightly for women. Of the 169,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in August, women gained 125,000 jobs (74 percent) while men gained 44,000 jobs (26 percent). According to the revised BLS numbers for July and previous months, women gained 103,000 jobs on average in May through August (66 percent of the total job gains), while men gained an average of 53,000 jobs across the four months (34 percent).

     

    Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter-25th Anniversary Edition
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (August 2013)

    This special 25th Anniversary edition of the newsletter presents a review of IWPR's policy research since our founding in 1987.

     

    117,000 Jobs Gained by Women in July: Number of Women’s Jobs Is Approaching Pre-Recession Level
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (August 2013)

    According to the IWPR analysis of the August employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth slowed in July for men, but accelerated slightly for women. Of the 162,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in July, women gained 117,000 jobs (72 percent) while men gained 45,000 jobs (28 percent). In June women gained 102,000 jobs and men gained 86,000 jobs.

     
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    Job Growth Remains Steady for Both Women and Men
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (July 2013)

    IWPR’s analysis of the July employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that job growth for both women and men continued to improve in June compared to the previous month. Of the 195,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls, women gained 113,000 jobs (58 percent) while men gained 82,000 jobs (42 percent).

     
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