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Retail jobs in the recovery go to men while women are left behind

It’s officially back-to-school season and the shopping is in full swing. Families around the country are out buying school supplies, new clothes, or maybe picking up a few things for that last summer project they haven’t quite finished yet.

But this August, you may have noticed a difference at your local stores – more men staffing the cash register, the customer service desk, or helping you search the aisles for that elusive item on your shopping list.

That’s because since the recovery began in June 2009, men have gained 395,600 jobs in retail – almost 2.5 times the number of jobs that women have lost (163,400) in the same period.

Change in retail jobs over the recovery

This divergence is remarkable in a sector where employment is split about 50-50 between men and women.  And this recovery trend isn’t because men had substantially larger losses to recoup from the recession – men accounted for just over half (about 55 percent) of retail jobs lost between December 2007 and June 2009.

What do these trends mean for the retail sector over the last few years?  They mean that men have now gained back about 70 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession in retail – but women’s losses have grown by more than one-third since the end of the recovery.

Interestingly, this story is different than the recovery in the private sector overall, where men and women have gained back about the same share of jobs they lost during the recession.

Stay tuned for September 7, when new data will tell us more about how the recovery is progressing for women and men.

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