Changing Places

Women Continue to Lose Jobs as Economy Grows

Heather Boushey explains why women are losing jobs as men gain them after the reverse was true during the Great Recession.

The current U.S. economic recovery continues to create jobs for men but not women. Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, men have added 746,000 jobs, while women have actually lost 211,000 jobs. During the Great Recession, men lost more jobs than women, so we would expect that men might gain jobs faster during the recovery. What is unexpected is that women are actually losing jobs.

This is a new trend over the course of the past three economic recoveries, too. Male employment growth is actually superior to the past three economic recoveries, while women’s employment declines are consistent with the 2000s recovery, and far below the recoveries of the 1980s and 1990s.

at the nearly two-year mark, for men, job gains in the current recovery outpace previous recoveries

at the nearly two-year mark, for women, job gains in the current recovery are below previous recoveries

Much of the difference by gender is due to the fact that women are more likely to be employed by state-and-local governments, which are engaged in significant lay-offs in the wake of the nationwide budget crunch. But women have been losing jobs across industries. Since the recession ended, men have gained 152,000 retail and 15,000 finance jobs, while women have lost 154,000 retail and 152,000 finance jobs.


Heather Boushey is an economist with the Center for American Progress.

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Heather Boushey

Former Senior Fellow