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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 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.

In the recovery women regained all the jobs they lost in the recession more quickly than men regained their lost jobs.

      Resources

      Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are ; Women’s Recover Jobs Lost in Recession in Year Five | Briefing Paper (October 2014)

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

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

      To see our experts on this and other initiatives, click here.

      Latest Reports from IWPR

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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).

       

      Moderate Job Growth for Both Women and Men: Unemployment Rate for Single Mothers Declines to 9.9 Percent
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (June 2013)

      According to the IWPR analysis of the June employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for both women and men improved in May compared to the previous month. Of the 175,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls, women gained 82,000 jobs (47 percent) while men gained 93,000 jobs (53 percent). For the first time since December 2008, the unemployment rate for women who head households without a spouse fell below ten percent.

       

      Job Growth Improves for Women in April 2013; Men Gained Fewer Jobs
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2013)

      According to the IWPR analysis of the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for women improved in April compared to the previous month. Of the 165,000 total jobs added to nonfarm payrolls, women gained 117,000 jobs (71 percent) while men gained 48,000 jobs (29 percent).

       

      Job Growth Improves for Women and Men
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (March 2013)

      According to the March employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth improved substantially in February compared to the previous month, with 236,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. One-third (80,000) of the new jobs went to women while men gained 156,000.

       

      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.

       
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