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Women and Jobs Outlook Brightens with October "She-covery"

Women have now regained almost as large a share of their lost jobs as have men

| BY Donald Liebenson

The outlook for women and jobs brightened last month,  according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the October employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Women gained 91,000 (or 53 percent) of the 171,000 jobs the economy added last month.

The improvement is attributed to strong jobs growth in education and health servces (23,000 jobs added for women). retail trade (22,000 jobs added for women), and leisure and hospitality (18,000 jobs added for women), the IWPR reports. Though government declined by 13,000 jobs in October, women gained 12,000 of these overall jobs.

The jobs report announced last Friday also revised upward the number of jobs added to the economy in August (from 142,000 to 192,000) and September (from 114,000 to 148,000). Since the beginning of the year, an average of 157,000 jobs have been added each month. Forty-five percent of these have been filled by women.

Women have now regained almost as large a share of their lost jobs as have men, IWPR analysis concludes. Both now have a higher number of jobs than they did in February 2009, the time of the first jobs report after President Barack Obama took office. Men have experienced net growth of 862,000 jobs as of October 2012, while women are 56,000 jobs above their February 2009 jobs number. .

Women have regained 1.4 million (or 51 percent) of the total jobs they lost in the recession from December 2007 to the low point for women's employment in September 2010 (2.7 million jobs). Men have regained nearly 3.1 million (or 52 percent) of the jobs they lost between December 2007 and their low point for employment in February 2010 (6.1 million jobs). The gap between women's and men's employment is 1.8 million jobs in October, substantially less than at the start of the recession (3.4 million jobs in December 2007).

The unemployment rate for women ages 16 and older increased slightly in October from 7.5 percent to 7.7 percent, but this is down 0.7 percentage points from October 2011. The unemployment rate for single mothers is 11.5 percent, but there are 44,000 fewer women in this group unemployed in October 2012 than in October 2011 when the unemployment rate was 12.3 percent. The unemployment rate for men aged 16 and older remained at 8.0 percent.

As of October, there are 12.3 million unemployed individuals.

Women and men are near-equally concerned about the economy and unemployment, according to a Millionaire Corner survey of affluent households conducted in September. Nearly one-third of women (30 percent) said that the economy is their biggest worry, compared with 28 percent of men. Similarly, Sixteen percent of women are most worried about unemployment, compared with 14 percent of men.

While significantly more men than women expressed concern about “current political leadership,” women are, not surprisingly, more concerned than men about issues that most impact their financial situation, including retirement (11 percent vs. 7 percent), increased taxes (6 percent vs. 2 percent) and stock market conditions (16 percent vs. 13 percent).

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.