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Women Hold More Jobs Than Ever But Salaries Still Lag

Women Hold More Jobs Than Ever But Salaries Still Lag

James Haggerty | The Times-Tribune

November 25, 2009

Job losses from the recession threaten traditional male domination of the U.S. work force.

Women hold 49.8 percent of all jobs, their highest proportion in history, according to U.S. Department of Labor data.

“Since the recession began, men have lost over seven of every 10 jobs that have been lost,” said Heather Boushey, Ph.D., an economist at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C. “This isn’t necessarily good news. It’s about how the job losses have played out.”

Men have lost more than 3 million jobs just in manufacturing and construction since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The male unemployment rate nationally in October was 10.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent for women.

“In many male-dominated fields, the blue-collar fields, the recession has been terrible,” said Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., a University of Scranton economist.

Although women make up a larger share of the workforce than ever, they still lag in income. Female workers take home less than 80 cents on the male dollar, Department of Labor data show.

“For the same job, you’ll find at least a 20 percent gap between what the women get and the male workers get. That’s a shame,” Dr. Ghosh said.

“The labor market is highly segregated, with women and men in different jobs,” Dr. Boushey said. “There’s a lingering gender pay gap. It’s really a residual, most likely discriminatory, effect.”

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