WASHINGTON - Data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for December, completing the U.S. employment picture for 2010, reveal an alarming gender imbalance in the distribution of jobs gained last year, according to an analysis by the National WomenÂs Law Center (NWLC).
ÂThe economic recovery is sluggish at best, but women are being largely shut out of it,Â said NWLC Co-President Nancy Duff Campbell. ÂAnd if the continued pressure on state and local budgets leads to further layoffs in the public sector, 2011 may be even worse for women than 2010.Â
During the recession (December 2007 - June 2009) men suffered 71 percent of the job loss. For the first six months of the recovery, men and women lost a similar number of jobs, resulting in men accounting for two-thirds of all lost jobs between December 2007 and the end of 2009. But as the pace of the recovery quickened in 2010, women were largely left behind. Of the 1.11 million jobs added to the economy between January and December 2010, only 120,000Âjust 10.8 percentÂwent to women.
NWLC found that heavy job losses in public sector employment that disproportionately affected women were a major reason for the dismal employment picture for women in 2010. Women represent nearly 57 percent of the public workforce but lost 86 percent of the 220,000 jobs cut in this sector during 2010.
The data also show that the unemployment rate for women rose during 2010 while menÂs unemployment rate declined. The unemployment rate for women increased from 7.8 percent in January 2010 to 8.1 percent in December 2010. The unemployment rate for men decreased from 10 percent in January 2010 to 9.4 percent in December 2010.
For some, employment trends in 2010 were even more ominous. The 12.3 percent average annual unemployment rate for single mothers in 2010 is the highest average annual rate for this group since data have been recorded. The average annual unemployment rates in 2010 for African-American women (12.8 percent), African-American men (17.3 percent), Hispanic women (11.4 percent), and Hispanic men (11.7 percent) represent the highest average annual rates for each of these groups in at least 25 years. Average unemployment for these vulnerable groups was even higher than the 9.8 percent annual average unemployment rate for men overall, which also represents an historic high.
ÂWith unemployment still so high, and so few women benefiting from last yearÂs modest job growth, it is clear that job creation must be the top priority for the 112th Congress. Now is clearly not the time for spending cuts that will cost jobs, hamper the slow recovery, and harm women and families struggling to survive this crisis,Â Campbell said.
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.