Continuing the trend we previously reported, our analysis of today’s jobs data shows that women have lost ground since the recovery began. Over the course of the recovery, men gained jobs while women lost them, and men’s unemployment rate fell while women’s unemployment rate rose.
From the beginning of the recovery in July 2009 through December 2010, men gained more than 406,000 jobs while women lost 370,000, based on revised data released today. This 776,000 job gap widened to 804,000 jobs in January 2011, as men gained an additional 32,000 jobs and women added only 4,000—just 11 percent of the jobs added last month. While women lost three in every ten jobs cut over the course of the recession (December 2007 – June 2009), they have filled fewer than one in every 20 since job growth picked up in 2010.
Continued public sector job losses were a major contributor to the low net job growth for women in January. Of the 14,000 jobs lost in the public sector last month, women lost 10,000 (71 percent). Over the course of the recovery, women have lost a disproportionate 84 percent of the 309,000 public sector jobs lost.
The newsworthy drop in the overall unemployment rate in January, from 9.4 to 9.0 percent, was driven by a substantial improvement in men’s unemployment rate, which fell from 9.4 percent in December to 8.8 percent in January. Women’s unemployment rate declined only slightly in January, from 8.1 percent to 7.9 percent, and remained higher than women’s 7.7 percent unemployment rate at the start of the recovery. In contrast, the drop in men’s unemployment rate in January put it a full percentage point lower than men’s unemployment rate at the start of the recovery, 9.8 percent.
Grim news also continued for some particularly vulnerable groups. Single mothers saw their unemployment rate rise from 12.0 percent in December to 12.7 percent in January, a rate higher than the 12.3 percent average annual rate this group experienced during 2010. Additionally, unemployment among men and women of color still remained substantially higher than the national average.
At this rate, the current recovery will not reach the millions of jobseekers, especially women, for years. The President’s budget is slated to be released on February 14—let’s hope efforts to create jobs and a sustainable recovery are promoted and vital programs for women and their families are strengthened.