The economic recovery officially began in June 2009, yet women have, on net, added no jobs. In June 2011, women accounted for half of the jobs gained, but over the recovery so far, men have added 805,000 jobs, while women have lost 281,000.
Between June 2009 and May 2011, the latest data available for detailed industry breakdowns by gender show that men have seen job gains in administrative and waste services (330,000 jobs added), health care (239,000 jobs), retail trade (175,000 jobs), and durable goods (151,000 jobs). Women saw gains in 405,000 health care jobs and 212,000 administrative and waste services jobs, but have shed 176,000 retail trade jobs and 143,000 financial activities jobs.
Job losses for women have been concentrated in government. All of women’s total job losses can be more than be accounted for by the losses in government alone, and specifically, in local government. Between June 2009 and June 2011, men have lost 150,000 government jobs while women have lost more than twice as many, 343,000 jobs.
The Great Recession led to severe budget problems in states and localities. As unemployment has risen, tax revenues have fallen even as more families are in need of services. Cuts affect the kinds of programs that help caregivers keep their jobs—such as after-school programs, home health services, or other children’s educational or care programs—which will make it even more challenging for families who are trying to keep their jobs or seek employment.
The lack of hiring for women is closing the gap in unemployment rates by gender. Men’s unemployment hovered at around 10 percent for roughly a year after the recovery began in 2009 and then fell sharply in 2011, and is now at 9.1 percent. On the other hand, women’s unemployment rate has hardly budged over the course of the recovery and has been stuck at around 8 percent for about two years.