We’re back this Friday with your monthly update on the BLS jobs numbers. Other things are back too – cooler temps are back, Monday night football is back, and kids are back to school – but one thing that isn’t back are teachers. Local education lost jobs last month, capping a year of losses totaling over 83,000. In fact, since the recovery started in June 2009, local education has lost 301,000 jobs. This is bad news for kids and for women, who make up over 70 percent of the positions in this sector.
These education losses are just part of the ongoing public sector losses. I know we hammered it home last month, but the big story for women this month is still public sector job losses. Over the recovery, women’s public sector job losses have wiped out a whopping 45 percent of their private sector gains. Since June 2009, women have now lost 450,000 public sector jobs, while they gained 999,000 private sector jobs.
Though the month wasn’t great all around – the economy added 96,000 jobs in August and the overall unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.1 percent, hovering near the level it has been at since the start of 2012 – one positive trend is a slight decline in adult women’s unemployment rate– it is now 7.3 percent, the lowest rate since April 2009, though not by much. What’s worse about this drop is that even these small drops aren’t reaching the groups of women who need relief the most. Adult black women and single moms both saw their unemployment rates rise last month, to 12.0 percent and 12.3 percent respectively. Hispanic women’s unemployment rate dropped slightly, but continues to be much higher than for women overall.
August’s jobs data show another month in a slow recovery. It’s clear that when Congress returns to the Hill next week, the focus needs to be on speeding up the recovery. While the economy is improving, the pace of the recovery is not fast enough for struggling families. It’s time to give families, not millionaires, the help they need.