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Job Growth for Men Outpacing that for Women in Pennsylvania

It’s no secret that women get paid less, on average, than men. However, a new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds women are also recovering more slowly from recession job losses than men. The Women and Girls Foundation in Pittsburgh commissioned the study, which found that by end of 2011 women in Pennsylvania had regained 12% of total recession job losses while men had gained 62% of their job losses.

“What that means is that during the 12 months of 2011, all net jobs gains were experienced by men, while women saw job losses,” said Women and Girls Foundation CEO Heather Arnet.

There is a new term for this trend: a “he-covery,” and it’s being seen nationally, thought it’s worse in the commonwealth. Women have proportionately regained fewer jobs than women nationally, and no jobs at all during the last year, while men in Pennsylvania have recovered a much greater share of job losses than men nationally.  

“Overall, unemployment, by average, was higher for men during the recession, but women’s job losses have continued into the recovery years, whereas men have gained jobs in this period of time,” said Arnet.

Arnet contends those continued job losses, for women, can be traced to the types of projects being funded through the recovery – so-called “shovel-ready projects.”

“In the recent economic recovery we saw a lot of very traditional job investment, investment in what were traditionally male fields of construction, hard hat jobs, and a divestment in the jobs where women really do thrive: in information technology, data entry, and health care,” said Arnet.

In Pittsburgh, some 70% of those living in poverty are single mothers. Arnet said single-women heads of household have a greater unemployment rate than single men and even married women. The unemployment rate among single-mothers is 13.6%, while the rate for men is 7%.

Cuts to social services, transportation, and education are factors in the slow recovery for women, but Arnet adds, the situation isn’t hopeless – state and county lawmakers can turn it around, “our policy makers can start to think about, how do cuts in public transportation, affordable childcare, and full-day kindergarten impact job security for women, and how do we think about creating jobs and connecting women with jobs so we can create more family-sustaining incomes?”