Back to previous page


Have 92 percent of the jobs lost under Obama really belonged to women?

By Ezra Klein,

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Mitt Romney losing women by 19 points. Ouch. In response, the Romney campaign mounted an argument that the Obama economy has been particularly bad for women. After all, they say, 92 percent of the jobs lost have belonged to women. Glenn Kessler explains what’s going on here:

How could women lose more jobs than the overall total? It’s a function of the dates one picks. In fact, the picture becomes clearer if you start running the data from the date the recession began — December 2007. With that starting point, the total decline in jobs was just over 5 million, with women accounting for nearly 1.8 million of those jobs.
Now look what happens when we just look at the past year, March 2011 to March 2012. Men gained nearly 1.9 million jobs while women gained 635,000 jobs.
In other words, men did lose more jobs in the recession. Now that the economy is growing again, men are recovering jobs at a faster pace than women.

To put this a bit differently, the crisis began in industries that men dominate, like construction and manufacturing. That was where we saw the bulk of the job losses. But the aftermath has been harder on industries that women dominate, like retail and teaching. Because Obama took office midway into the recession, he’s got less of the initial crisis on “his” record, but all of the aftermath.

The reality is that the recession has been easier on women than men. You might remember various magazines branding it the “he-cession.” But that’s not really the fault of either George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

© The Washington Post Company