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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

    Moderate Job Growth Continues for Women and Men: Revised Numbers Provide Brighter Picture of Recovery for Women
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (February 2013)

    According to IWPR analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released February 1, 2013, job growth was stronger for women (102,000 jobs) than men (55,000 jobs), for a total of 157,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls during the month of January.

     

    Women Have Regained Greater Share of Jobs Lost in Recession Than Men: Women Gain 6 Out of 10 Jobs Added in November
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (December 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the November employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth improved, with 146,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. Job growth was strong for women (91,000 jobs) and men (55,000 jobs).

     

    Job Growth Improves in October for Both Women and Men: Women Gain 53 Percent of Jobs Added, Women Now Have Net Job Growth Since February 2009
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the October employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth improved in October with women gaining 53 percent of jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. Job growth was strong for both women (91,000 jobs) and men (80,000 jobs) for a total of 171,000 jobs added.

     

    Women Gain Half of Jobs Added in September: Net Job Growth During Obama Years
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (October 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the September employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in September with 114,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. Job growth was evenly divided with women and men each gaining 57,000 jobs. As in past months, most of the job growth was in the private sector, but jobs in the public sector grew slightly, 7,000 new jobs for men and 3,000 new jobs for women.

     

    103,000 New Jobs in the Private Sector: Women Continue to Lose Government Jobs
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the August employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private sector job growth continued in August with 103,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. However, BLS reported that there were 7,000 fewer jobs in government resulting in a net total of 96,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in August. Of these, women gained 43,000 jobs, or 45 percent of the total, and men gained 53,000 jobs.

     

    Job Growth and Unemployment for Men and Women in Pennsylvania, 2007 to 2011
    by Ariane Hegewisch, Anlan Zhang, Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (September 2012)

    Since the beginning of the Great Recession in December of 2007 both women and men in Pennsylvania have experienced dramatic job losses and steep increases in unemployment. Almost three years after the official end of the recession, neither women’s nor men’s employment has reached pre-recession levels, but men’s employment gain has been considerably stronger than women’s. The gap between the number of women and men employed in Pennsylvania was wider at the end of 2011 than it was at the outset of the Great Recession. Women have not gained in the recovery relative to men.

     

    Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are
    by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Jocelyn Fischer, and Jacqui Logan (August 2012)

     

    163,000 New Jobs in July: Over Half Go to Women
    by Instiute for Women's Policy Research (August 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the August employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in July with 163,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In July women gained 86,000 jobs, or 53 percent of the total, and men gained 77,000 jobs.

     

    Job Growth Continues in June: Private Sector Growing Faster than Public Sector in the Recovery
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (July 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the June employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in June with 80,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In June women gained 32,000 jobs and men gained 48,000 jobs.

     

    Job Growth for Women Continues in May: Both Men and Women Have Regained More Than 40 Percent of Jobs Lost
    by (June 2012)

     

    Slow and Positive Job Growth for Women and Men Continues in April
    by The Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in April with 115,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In April, women gained 84,000 jobs (nearly three-quarters of jobs added) and men gained 31,000.

     

    Job Growth Slows for Women and Men in March
    by IWPR (April 2012)

     

    Improved Job Growth in January for Both Women and Men: Women Re-Entering the Labor Force, But Men Leaving
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (February 2012)

    According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the February employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth improved in January with 243,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In January, women gained 95,000 jobs (almost 40 percent, above their share for the past year) and men gained 148,000.

     

    Equal Job Growth for Women and Men in Last Quarter of 2011: Women Continue to Leave the Labor Force
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (January 2012)

    According to IWPR analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth was moderate in December with 200,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls.

     

    Slow Job Growth in November for Both Women and Men
    by (December 2011)

    Job growth remained slow in November with 120,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. This is up slightly from 100,000 new jobs in October, but down from 210,000 addedin September.

     

    Is the Recovery Starting for Women? Slow Job Growth in October for Both Women and Men.
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2011)

    Job growth slowed in October with 80,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. This is down from 104,000 new jobs in August and 158,000 in September. (September’s gains included more than 40,000 Verizon workers returning after a strike. August and September’s totals were revised by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in November). Women’s employment now appears to be rising. In October women gained 66,000 jobs, but men gained only 14,000. The revised numbers for August and September show 136,000 new jobs for women compared with 126,000 for men.

     

    Slow Job Growth in September Points to Need for Federal Help with Job Creation
    by Institute for Women's Policy Research (October 2011)

     

    Recommendations for Improving Women’s Employment in the Recovery
    by Women's Scholars Forum (September 2011)

    In the current economic recovery, women are facing a gap in employment that jeopardizes the well-being and economic security of themselves and their families. This briefing paper, prepared by a group of scholars and researchers collaborating as the Women Scholars Forum, proposes specific strategies to meet the needs of women facing joblessness in the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007–2009. This group, noting that women’s earnings are essential to the welfare of their families, is especially concerned that federal programs reach those most in need, including single mothers, women of color, and those with less education. The members of the Women Scholars Forum, listed below, offer these recommendations in order to achieve job growth and economic prosperity.

    #C384, Briefing Paper, 5 pages
    $5.00
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    The Job Loss Tsunami of the Great Recession: Wave Recedes for Men, Not for Women
    by Heidi Hartmann, Jeffrey Hayes (July 2011)

     

    Monthly Number of Women and Men on Payrolls (Seasonally Adjusted), December 2007- April 2011
    by Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D. (May 2011)

     
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