During the Great Recession and its aftermath, women lost more than 2.7 million jobs. Women have since gained back close to 2.9 million jobs, for an additional 171,000 jobs. Does this mean American women have seen a full economic recovery? Unfortunately, not even close.
Due to normal population growth, the labor market needs to add jobs each month. The figure shows the “jobs gap”—the number of jobs needed to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate –for both women and men. Since 2007, the number of jobs for women should have increased every month by over 50,000; the labor market should have added over 3.7 million jobs for women since the recession began. Despite surpassing their pre-recession employment level, women are still 3.6 million jobs in the hole.
Men lost more than 6 million jobs in the Great Recession and its aftermath. They have since gained back less than 4.4 million jobs, which means men are still 1.7 million jobs below where they were in December 2007. Furthermore, the number of jobs for men should have increased by around 40,000 each month. This means the labor market should have added a total of 2.7 million jobs for men since the recession began, so men are still 4.4 million jobs in the hole. (Note: the monthly “hold-steady” number is lower for men than for women, since men’s labor force has been growing more slowly than women’s for most of the last half-century.)