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Women End 2011 with First Net Job Gain but Higher Unemployment Since Start of the Recovery, NWLC Analysis Shows

Women Gain Just Three Percent of the 1.4 Million Net Jobs Added in Recovery

January 06, 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 held slightly more jobs in December 2011 than at the start of the recovery in June 2009, making December the first month that women saw a net job gain in the recovery.  While men suffered more than 70 percent of the net job loss during the recession, before December all of the net job gains in the recovery went to men.  Despite last month’s job growth, women’s unemployment rate in December was higher than at the start of the recovery, while men’s unemployment rate declined.

“Women’s job numbers have finally inched into the black since the start of the recovery, but the pace is painfully slow,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center.  “Since the recovery officially began in June 2009, women have gained 43,000 net jobs, just three percent of the 1.4 million net jobs added to the economy during that period. But women have yet to see any improvement in their unemployment rate.  Indeed, women’s unemployment increased slightly in December to 7.9 percent, up from 7.6 percent at the start of the recovery, while men’s unemployment continued to decline, falling to 8.0 percent in December 2011 from 9.9 percent at the start of the recovery.  The job gains in 2011 are welcome news, but millions of women and men remain unemployed and in desperate need of a real recovery.”

The jobs picture for women was better in 2011 than it was for them during the recovery as a whole.  Women gained 521,000 (32 percent) of the 1.6 million jobs added in 2011; since the start of the recovery in June 2009, women gained only three percent of the 1.4 million jobs added.   In the private sector, women gained 643,000 (33 percent) of the 1.9 million jobs added in 2011; since the start of the recovery in June 2009, women gained 21 percent of the 2 million private sector jobs added.  In the public sector, women lost 122,000 (44 percent) of the 280,000 public sector jobs lost in 2011.  Since the start of the recovery, women lost 64 percent of the 585,000 public sector jobs lost. 

Women gain few jobs in recovery

The recovery has not brought any improvement in the unemployment rate for women.  The unemployment rate for women overall in December 2011 was 7.9 percent, slightly higher than the 7.6 percent rate at the start of the recovery in June 2009.  In contrast, the unemployment rate for men overall in December 2011 was 8.0 percent, down from 9.9 percent in June 2009. 

Women's unemployment rises slightly in recovery

Over 5.4 million Americans were still looking for work after more than six months in December 2011.  Nearly half of all jobless men (44.5 percent) and women (45.0 percent) were long-term unemployed, and long-term unemployment rates are especially high for women and men ages 55 and older.  These percentages have increased substantially since the start of the recovery, when the long-term jobless rate for men stood at 30.7 percent and the long-term jobless rates for women stood at 29.3 percent.

“Today’s data show that this recovery is still fragile, and millions of Americans have been left behind. Congress has urgent business to attend to when it returns later this month:  extend federal emergency unemployment benefits through 2012, invest in job creation, and reject additional cuts to programs that will result in more jobs lost for women and men,” said Entmacher.  

 
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