WASHINGTON - Data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that while women gained jobs last month, their unemployment rate edged up, according to an analysis by the National WomenÂs Law Center (NWLC).
ÂThe February data present a mixed picture for women,Â said Joan Entmacher, NWLC Vice President for Family Economic Security. ÂOn the positive side, the pace of job growth for women picked up.But, womenÂs unemployment rate edged up last month while menÂs unemployment rate continued to decline.Since the recovery officially began in July 2009, women have lost jobs and their unemployment rate has increasedÂwhile men have gained jobs and their unemployment rate has declined.Â
The CenterÂs analysis of BLS data shows that women gained 55,000Â29 percentÂof the 192,000 jobs added in February.However, from July 2009, when the recovery officially started, through February 2011, men gained 622,000 jobs while women lost 300,000Âa gap of 922,000 jobs.While women lost nearly three in every ten jobs cut over the course of the recession (December 2007 - June 2009), they have filled fewer than one in every ten jobs since job growth picked up in 2010.
Job losses in public sector employment affected both men and women in February.Of the 30,000 jobs lost in the public sector last month, women lost 9,000 (30 percent).Over the course of the recovery, the public sector has lost 327,000 jobs, 79 percent of which were jobs held by women.
The unemployment rate for women increased slightly last month, rising to 8.0 percent in February from 7.9 percent in January.In contrast, menÂs unemployment rate continued to decline, falling to 8.7 percent in February from 8.8 percent in January. Since the start of the recovery, menÂs unemployment rate dropped by more than a percentage point (from 9.8 percent in July 2009 to 8.7 percent in February 2011), while womenÂs unemployment rate increased (from 7.7 percent in July 2009 to 8.0 percent in February 2011).
Some particularly vulnerable groups experienced increased unemployment during February. Single mothers saw their unemployment rate rise from 12.7 percent in January to 13.0 percent in February, a rate higher than the 12.3 percent average annual rate this group experienced during 2010. Unemployment among African American women increased slightly last month, from 12.9 percent in January to 13.0 percent in February, while unemployment among Hispanic women declined from 11.5 percent to 11.1 percent.
ÂWhile there are some encouraging signs in todayÂs report, the hope of a real recovery for women could be dashed by drastic cuts to public services being debated in Washington and around the country that could destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and stifle economic growth,Â added Entmacher.
The National Women's Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women's legal rights. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women.