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Job growth has been increasing faster for men than women

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Steve Chiotakis: We’re gonna get the latest unemployment gauge in about an hour and a half with a look at first-time weekly jobless claims. Indeed, fewer people have been collecting unemployment benefits and instead are collecting paychecks. But the recovery’s been better for men than women.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington reports.

Adam Allington: In 2009, economists were calling it the “Mancession.” That’s because most of the jobs lost were in male-dominated sectors like manufacturing and construction.

Now we could be seeing a “Mancovery,” says St. Louis University economist Jack Stauss. But the jobs picture for women is going in the opposite direction.

Jack Strauss: The private sector has been creating jobs, the manufacturing sector has been slowly rebounding, but what’s been going on is, we’ve been losing jobs in education, we’ve been losing jobs in local government and state governments. Those jobs are primarily populated by women.

According to the Labor Department, of the 1.3 million jobs created last year, nearly 90 percent went to men. But the unemployment rate among women actually rose, and is expected rise even higher as more people like Kimberly Hopkins lose their jobs.

Kimberly Hopkins: I did receive a notice of honorable dismissal.

Hopkins is a speech therapist for the East St. Louis School District. The district plans to lay off nearly 300 teachers this summer.

Hopkins: Oh it means everything for me and my family. I’m a single parent as well as I take care of my elderly mother. So my income is substantial to the household.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate among single mothers is 12.3 percent.

Joan Entmacher is the vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington D.C. She says women faced greater risks from unemployment even before the recession.

Joan Entmacher: This is an extremely vulnerable group — lower pay, less savings, they’re more likely to be single parents. More than half of all poor children live with single mothers, so the high unemployment there is a real crisis.

Entmacher cautions that the threat of long-term unemployment affects both men and women, and could weigh down any recovery for years to come.

In St. Louis, I’m Adam Allington for Marketplace.

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