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Jobs Report Shows Women Gained only 4,000 of 103,000 New Jobs, Says NWLC

Highlights Need for Congress to Act on Jobs Plan for Women and Men

October 07, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) Analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) using data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for September 2011 shows that a modest improvement in the job market in September largely left women behind, continuing a trend since the official start of the recovery in June 2009.  Women’s disproportionate job losses in the public sector almost completely offset their small gains in private sector employment.  (See full NWLC analysis: http://www.nwlc.org/resource/modest-recovery-largely-leaves-women-behind).

“It’s time for policymakers to stop cutting jobs and start creating them for women and men,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center. “Continued cuts in public services are costing jobs—especially for women.  Women lost 28,000 public sector jobs last month, which offset most of women’s 32,000 private sector job gains. Although overall growth in the job market has been weak since the start of the recovery in June 2009, it has been even worse for women.  Disproportionate public sector job losses for women have resulted in a net loss of 264,000 jobs since the recession officially ended. Congress must act quickly on President Obama’s plan to create jobs for women and men.”

Women gained only 4,000 of the 103,000 total jobs gained in September.  In the private sector women gained 32,000 (23 percent) of a total 137,000 jobs last month.  The public sector lost 34,000 jobs last month, 28,000 of which (82 percent) were jobs held by women.  Since the start of the recovery in June 2009, the economy has gained 841,000 jobs while women lost 264,000.  Heavy public sector job losses for women—407,000 since the start of the recovery—have wiped out modest private sector gains.

The overall unemployment rate in September, 9.1 percent, was unchanged from August. However, women’s unemployment rate increased slightly, from 8.0 percent in August 2011 to 8.1 percent in September 2011, while men’s unemployment rate declined slightly, from 8.9 percent to 8.8 percent over the same period. Since the start of the recovery in June 2009, women’s unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points, from 7.7 percent in June 2009, while men’s unemployment rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points, down from 9.9 percent in June 2009.

In September, 6.2 million Americans—nearly half of all jobless men (49.8 percent) and women (47.6 percent)— have been unable to find work for 27 weeks or more. But the federal emergency unemployment insurance program—which supplements state unemployment insurance benefits, which generally last for 26 weeks or less—will end in December unless Congress extends it.

“President Obama’s job plan would help put Americans back to work. It would keep teachers and first responders on the job, invest in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, provide job training, create incentives to hire the long-term unemployed and provide subsidized employment, extend emergency unemployment benefits, and prohibit discrimination against jobless workers,” Entmacher said.  “Next week, the Senate will decide whether or not to debate the President’s plan. Today’s jobs report should convince Senators that we need this plan—the millions of women and men who are desperately looking for work cannot afford to wait any longer.” 

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