New post-recession trends show that the job market has been much kinder to men than it's been to women.
A report by the Pew Research Center shows that in the two years since the recession ended, men gained 768,000 jobs and reduced their unemployment numbers by 1.1 percent, while women lost 218,000 jobs over the same amount of time and actually saw their unemployment increase by 0.2 percent.
These numbers stand in stark contrast to the trends that were prevalent during the Great Recession, as it has come to be known, that took place between December 2007 and June 2009.
At the beginning of the recession, men were more prevalent in industries like construction and manufacturing, industries that wound up suffering the most dramatic job losses. Women were more concentrated in industries like education, local government, and health services industries where jobs were added even during the recession. During that time, men lost 71 percent of the 7.5 million jobs that left the U.S. economy, and by the time the economy began picking back up, men and women were nearly equal in number in the work force.
“The Great Recession itself was harder on men,” writes Rakesh Kochhar, senior researcher of the Social and Demographic Trends project for the Pew Research Center. Women lost only 2.1 million jobs as compared to men, who lost 5.4 million jobs in all over the one and a half year economic crisis.
Trends show that since the nation begun its economic recovery period, however, 15 of 16 major sectors of the economy have favored men over women, with the only exception being state governments where women have gained jobs while men have lost them.
Unemployment rates have dropped for men of all races, while only white women have seen a drop. Hispanic, black, and Asian women have seen an increase in unemployment during the recovery.
The Pew research shows that in the two years of economic recovery that followed each of America's recessions from 1970 on, men have never fared better than women in the job market until this last recovery period.
“Changes in the unemployment rate confirm the unique nature of the current recovery,” Kochhar writes. “It is the first recovery in which the unemployment rates for men and women have gone in opposite directions – falling for men but rising for women.” So what has made this recovery different from the rest?
“The more notable developments are that men have found jobs in sectors where women have not, and that men made stronger advances than women in other sectors,” he writes, but later adds, “There is no ready explanation for why employment growth in these sectors has favored men.”