Men, women see equal job growth by end of 2011

Based on an analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women are seeing growing employment opportunities as there was equal job growth over the past three months for men and women at 206,000 jobs each.

During the recovery, most of the job growth has been experienced by men, IWPR reports.

In December, women were offered 89,000 jobs, and men gained 111,000 jobs. According to the revised numbers for October and November, 117,000 new jobs for women have been created since September compared with 95,000 for men. December job growth was moderate as 200,000 jobs were created to nonfarm payrolls, which is up from 100,000 new jobs in November but down from 210,000 in September.

Between December 2010 and December 2011, among the 1.6 million jobs new jobs, only 521,000 or 32 percent were filled by women while 1,119,000 or 68 percent were filled by men, employment figures show. Regardless of the progress made in the last quarter, women and men's employment employment gap in December is remains at 1.5 million.

Although Men are experiencing a quicker recovery than women, the overall jobs recovery is slow for both sexes. Women have regained 23 percent of the total jobs they lost in the recession, and men have gained 34 percent of those jobs. Based on IWPR figures, men’s employment trough hit in January 2010 while women’s employment trough job loss was in September 2010.

For women age 16 and older, the unemployment rate was steady from November to December at 8.3 percent but dropped for men from 8.9 percent to 8.7 percent. Some of the apparent improvement is attributed to workers no longer searching for work job search; thus, they are not being counted as part of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force, which includes those who are employed, unemployed and actively seeking work, dropped by 50,000 between November and December, representing a net change of a loss of 82,000 female labor force participants and a gain of 32,000 male labor force participants. Fewer women left the work force in December than in November. Among those unemployed, the average duration of unemployment has been 40.8 weeks, and half of those unemployed have been jobless for a median average of 21.0 weeks or longer.

Men could be doing better than women, IWPR finds, because women are among a disproportionate share of state and local government workers, and those positions are continuing to see cuts even though job loss has slowed. The private sector added 212,000 jobs in December, but government employment eliminated 12,000 jobs. Job growth was strong in retail, transportation and warehousing, health care and social assistance.

Despite private-sector employment growing by 1.9 million workers from December 2010 to December 2011, 280,000 government jobs were cut. This difference in job growth across employment sectors disproportionately impacts women who represent 57 percent of workers in the public sector as opposed to 48 percent in the private sector, IWPR reports.

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