FAST FACT: Women Losing Ground in Job Market Since ‘End’ of Recession

By Allie Fernandez

Recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has helped to contribute to a fascinating new report by the National Women’s Law Center on women’s unemployment rates in the U.S. According to their analysis, women have lost ground in the job market in the two years since the recession officially ended in June 2009:

  • Women lost 281,000 jobs from June 2009 to June 2011, while men gained 805,000 jobs.
  • Women’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.0 percent from 7.7 percent at the beginning of the recovery while men’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in June 2011, down from 9.9 percent when the recovery began.
  • During the recession, men lost seven in ten of the jobs lost. But since the beginning of the recovery, men have regained 15 percent of their lost jobs, while women have lost an additional 13 percent of the jobs they lost during the recession.
  • In financial activities, a sector that includes banking and real estate and is nearly 60 percent female, women lost 150,000 jobs while men gained 9,000. In the manufacturing sector, which is about 30 percent female, women lost 115,000 jobs while men gained 94,000.
  • Women lost nearly the same number of jobs that men gained during the recovery in retail trade (women lost 168,800 jobs while men gained 172,800) and trade, transportation and utilities (women lost 235,000 jobs while men gained 239,000), sectors that are approximately 50 percent and 40 percent female, respectively.
  • In the information sector (which includes publishing and broadcasting jobs and is roughly 40 percent female) and the public sector (which encompasses federal, state and local government and is nearly 60 percent female), both women and men experienced additional job losses during the recovery – but women lost more than twice as many jobs as men.
  • Both men and women gained jobs during the recovery in professional and business services, a sector that is roughly half female, but men gained more than twice as many jobs as women. In the leisure and hospitality sector, which is also about half women, men gained 20 times as many jobs as women during the recovery (120,000 vs. 6,000).
  • In the private education and health services sector, women gained more jobs (469,000) than men (280,000); however, in a sector that is more than three-quarters female, men gained 37 percent of the new jobs.
  • In construction, men lost more jobs (396,000) than women (94,000) during the recovery; however, in a sector that is only 13 percent female, women suffered 19 percent of the job loss.

Allie Fernandez is a Research and Programs Intern at the National Council for Research on Women. She recently graduated from Claremont Graduate University with a Master’s in Applied Women’s Studies. Allie has interned with Human Rights Watch, Women Thrive Worldwide and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST).


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