Three Years into The Recovery: The Bad, The Good and The Scary in Today’s Jobs Data
They say that bad things come in threes. So in honor of the “recovery”, which celebrates its third anniversary with today’s release of new jobs data for June, let me give you the three bad facts about the recovery for women so far (though I promise some good news at the end of the post!):
Fact 1: Public sector job losses are damaging women’s recovery.
Our analysis of the new data shows that women’s private sector job gains in the recovery are being hugely offset by their public sector losses, both last month and during the recovery as whole. Since the start of the recovery in June 2009, women and men have both gained private sector jobs and they have both lost public sector jobs. The public sector losses have been bad for men – but terrible for women. For every 10 private sector jobs women gained in the recovery, women lost over 4 public sector jobs. In contrast, for every 10 private sector jobs men gained in the recovery, men lost 1 public sector job.
Fact 2: Women’s unemployment rates have barely dropped.
Unemployment rates for both adult men and women didn’t budge last month. Even worse, adult women’s unemployment rate is barely below where it was at the start of the recovery – it is 7.4 percent again this month, down slightly (0.2 percentage points) since June 2009. Adult men’s unemployment rate, 7.8 percent in June, is down 2.2 percentage points over the recovery.
Fact 3: Unemployment rates for single mothers and black women are higher than they were when the recovery began.
Unemployment rates for single mothers (11.8 percent), adult black women (12.7 percent), and Hispanic women (10.3 percent) went up last month. Even worse, rates for single mothers and adult black women are up over the course of the recovery – just a bit for single moms (up 0.1 percentage points from 11.7 percent in June 2009) but substantially for black women (up 1.2 percentage points from 11.5 percent in June 2009). Unemployment rates for adult black and Hispanic men (14.2 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively) essentially held steady last month, and dropped during the recovery (down 2.1 percentage points for black men and 1.2 percentage points for Hispanic men), but remained much higher than for men overall.
The good news:
The good news is that private sector job growth has picked up for women in the third year of the recovery and it has remained steady for men. While this growth is modest and we have a long way to go, things are headed in the right direction. And thankfully, public sector job cuts this year are smaller than last year.
OK, you know I couldn’t leave things on too happy a note. The scary part is that some policy makers still don’t understand that, as our communities lose teachers, nurses, police and firefighters, we don’t need deeper budget cuts – we need policies that help create jobs and strengthen our recovery. Now is not the time for tax breaks for the wealthy; it’s time to invest in education, health care, public safety, and other vital services that help struggling Americans and put people back to work. For the sake of women’s jobs and the strength of the economy overall – it’s time to act.
Stay tuned next week for a full analysis of the recovery.
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