NPR logo For Women, No Recovery At All


For Women, No Recovery At All

Jess Jiang/NPR
Unemployment by Gender
Jess Jiang/NPR

During the recession, the unemployment rate for men shot up much more than the rate for women.

But since the recession ended in June of 2009, men have been going back to work, while the unemployment rate for women has actually increased slightly.

It's pretty clear why men did worse during the recession: Job losses were concentrated in sectors that employ more men than women (construction, manufacturing).

But, in the words of a Pew report released yesterday, "It is not entirely clear why men are doing better than women in the current recovery."

Part of the discrepancy comes from recent cuts in government jobs, which employ a disproportionate number of women. But that's not enough to explain the trend.

Back to the Pew report:

...women lost a total of 433,000 jobs in manufacturing, retail trade and finance during the recovery, while men gained 253,000 jobs in those sectors. Two other sectors—professional and business services and education and health services—gave women a strong boost; 691,000 new jobs in those sectors went to women. But men did even better, gaining 804,000 jobs in those two sectors. There is no ready explanation for why employment growth in these sectors has favored men.

Still, as the report notes (and as the graph at the top of this post makes clear), the unemployment rate is still higher for men than for women. Since recession started in December, 2007, men have lost millions more jobs than women.