Men Now Outpace Women in Job Growth

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Men may have lost more jobs than women during the recession, but as one report shows, they are quickly making up the ground they lost during the economic recovery.

Since the recession ended in June 2009, men have gained 768,000 jobs and the unemployment rate among men has dropped to 9.5% from 10.6%, according to the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women, on the other hand, actually lost 218,000 jobs during that period, and their unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.5% from 8.3% as a result.

Employment by Gender (Chart)

This not only comes in stark contrast to the employment situation for both genders during the recession years, when nearly three quarters (or 5.4 million) of all jobs lost belonged to men, but also runs counter to the progression of many other recovery periods.

Reviewing job trends after the various economic downturns in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Pew found that men and women gained jobs, but women typically did so at a faster rate. That hasn't been true this time around, in part because men are gaining in sectors where women are losing out.

The manufacturing industry added nearly 100,000 men between June 2009 and May 2011, according to Pew's report, as did the mining industry and transportation and warehousing professions, while at the same time decreasing the number of women employed. Men also experienced gains in the retail and finance sectors as well as in federal employment during this time, while women lost jobs in these industries.

Perhaps more striking is the fact that even in professions where women have fared well in recent years, men have generally fared better. The number of women employed in the education and health services, for example, has increased by 3.2% since the end of the recession, but the number of men has increased by a whopping 7%.

That said, women may still be in a stronger position than men for the time being.

Even with improvements in employment since the recession, men ultimately lost 4.6 million jobs between December 2007 and May 2011, whereas women lost about half of that, or 2.4 million. What's more, Pew found that women are generally distributed in healthier professions than men, making their employment prospects that much better. For example, nearly a quarter of women are employed in the education and health services industry, which is expanding, compared with just 6% of men.

Indeed, taking a longer view, the number of women employed in the workforce increased steadily throughout the previous decade, while the number of men employed remained essentially stagnant, driven largely by a growing gap in the education of women versus men. Unless that changes, the male-dominated jobs recovery may prove short-lived.

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