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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Labor Day, the Recovery Job Gap between Women and Men Remains Large

This year’s Labor Day will mark the 23rd consecutive month that women’s employment has remained virtually stagnant, according to an updated fact sheet from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).
Sep 02, 2011

Washington, DC—This year’s Labor Day will mark the 23rd consecutive month that women’s employment has remained virtually stagnant, according to an updated fact sheet from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). During the current recovery, men continue to outpace women in employment.  Since the end of the recession in June 2009, men’s unemployment rate has dropped by one percentage point from 10.6 percent to 9.6 percent, while women’s unemployment has increased from 8.3 to 8.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Since Labor Day last year, men have gained 85.7 percent of the 1.3 million new jobs on payrolls and women have gained 14.3 percent of the new jobs (1.1 million for men and 0.2 million for women).  This represents some job growth improvement in the last 12 months for women, but they have still not surpassed their job total from 23 months ago.

It is difficult to trace the cause for the slow growth in employment among women. Cuts to state and local government budgets have eliminated jobs that are dominated by women, such as elementary and middle school teachers.  For example, according to IWPR’s analysis of today’s BLS report, in the past 12 months, government (at all levels) has shed 450,000 jobs and 304,000 of those jobs (or 68 percent) had been held by women.

“Through our survey research, we know that these job losses are affecting the security and well-being of our families,” said Dr. Heidi Hartmann, a labor economist and president of IWPR. “According to our forthcoming report, women—particularly single and married mothers—are taking drastic steps to cut costs and make ends meet, such as skipping medical appointments and not filling prescriptions, not buying things their children need, and not saving for retirement.”

During the recession men had 33 months of nearly consecutive job loss and women ‘only’ 23 months. The number of months of nearly consecutive job loss and the size of the job loss is unprecedented for both men and women (with the exception of the Great Depression of the 1930s).

I’m looking forward to President Obama’s address to Congress,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hayes, senior research associate at IWPR. “All workers need jobs, especially those that support families, and until robust job growth really takes off, all of our workers looking for jobs need to have their unemployment benefits extended.”

Women’s and men’s payroll employment reached virtual parity in October 2009, as men lost many more jobs than did women.  Since that time, women have failed to gain any jobs on net, whereas men have gained 1.6 million jobs.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.

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