Men lost jobs at a greater rate in the first rush of the Great Recession in 2008, but women are now lagging far behind in the recovery.
A report to be released today by The Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and commissioned by the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, has found that while men have regained 63 percent of the jobs lost in the recession, women have regained only 12 percent of the jobs they lost.
The report also found that during 2011, with widespread cuts to government spending, women saw a net reduction in jobs, while men experienced gains.
"In the stimulus, there was this focus on 'shovel-ready' jobs," said Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, pointing out that shovel-ready jobs tend to be in the construction and building industries mostly populated by men.
Since the recovery, there have been cuts throughout the various levels of government, particularly concentrated in education and social services. Those fields are dominated by women, meaning that women are still losing jobs even as men return to employment.
The report fo und that women accounted for 60 percent of the employees cut from state and local government jobs between June 2009 and June 2012 -- the three years after the recovery officially began. Still, the report notes, the unemployment rate for women remains lower than it is for men -- partly because some of them choose to drop out of the workforce altogether and aren't included in the jobless rate. "Women may be more likely to give up looking for work, if they do not perceive jobs are available that will cover the costs of childcare and transportation that will meet their often complex schedule needs, especially when they have more than one child," the report says.
Single mothers have a particularly tough time: "At the end of 2011, 13.6 percent of unmarried women living with minor children were unemployed and looking for work, compared with 6.9 percent for all women," the report said.
Ms. Arnet said the reality is that economically more single mothers, who used to be able to support a family, are now falling into poverty.
One piece of the solution, Ms. Arnet said, may lie in The Affordable Care Act, because Pennsylvania has opted to create its own health care insurance exchange as part of that act. She expects there will be a number of jobs in data entry and customer service, which can be filled by women who need jobs.
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.