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Most of April’s Modest Job Gains Go to Women, NWLC Analysis Shows

May 04, 2012

(Washington, D.C.) Analysis by the National Women’s Law Center of jobs data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women gained 73 percent of the 115,000 jobs added in April—the largest share of monthly job gains for women since the start of the recovery. For the recovery overall (June 2009-April 2012), women’s gains have been much smaller. Women have gained only 16 percent of the nearly 2.5 million net jobs added in the recovery.  Women’s substantial losses in the public sector have driven their small overall job gains in the recovery. In fact, for every two jobs women gained in the private sector during the recovery, they lost one in the public sector.

“Today’s data show that while most of April’s modest job gains went to women, there’s still a long way to go to reach a full recovery for women and men,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center. “This is not the time to cut back on programs that create jobs and help families get back on their feet.”

The largest job gains for women in April came in professional and business services, which include temporary help services, private education and health, and leisure and hospitality. Women also gained jobs in the manufacturing sector. Women gained 62 percent of the 130,000 private sector jobs added in April.  During the recovery, women gained 26 percent (800,000) of the nearly 3.1 million net private sector jobs added.

The public sector lost 15,000 net jobs last month; men bore all of the losses, while women gained 4,000 public sector jobs. During the recovery, the public sector lost 601,000 net jobs—two-thirds of which (400,000) were held by women. 

The overall unemployment rate for adult women was unchanged for the month at 7.4 percent, while adult men’s unemployment rate declined slightly to 7.5 percent. Since the start of the recovery, adult women’s unemployment rate has dropped by only 0.2 percentage points, while men’s unemployment rate has declined by 2.4 percentage points.  The unemployment rates for single mothers and adult black and Hispanic women declined in April. However, the unemployment rates for these economically vulnerable groups of women remain well above the overall unemployment rate, at 10.2, 10.8, and 9.6 percent respectively.  The long-term unemployment rate—the percentage of unemployed workers looking for jobs for 27 weeks or more—increased for adult women last month to 45.2 percent; the long-term unemployment rate for adult men rose to 47.4 percent. The long-term unemployment rates for both adult women and men are substantially higher than at the start of the recovery.

“There aren’t enough jobs for everyone who wants to work and millions of Americans are still struggling to meet their basic needs,” Entmacher said.  “Yet the House is expected to vote next week on bills that would slash programs for vulnerable Americans—food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, funding for services for children and seniors, tax credits to make health insurance affordable, the Child Tax Credit, and more.  These measures would cripple families—and the economy.”