Monday, September 12, 2011

Women Continue to Lose Jobs in the Public Sector

This morning, I want to share part of a press release from the Institute for Women's Policy Research:

In the current economic recovery, a job gap exists between women and men.

Washington, DC- A new analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), finds that women employees lost 81 percent (473,000) of the 581,000 jobs lost in the public sector since December 2008. Many of these jobs were lost at the local and state level where women in the public sector are most likely to be employed as elementary and middle school teachers.

At the local level between December 2008 and July 2011, the number of women in public sector employment decreased by 4.7 percent while the number of men decreased by only 1.6 percent. At the federal level in the same period, women employees saw a decrease of 3.2 percent in their ranks while the number of men employed actually increased by 5.3 percent, possibly due to increased employment in areas such as homeland security and civilian employment in the Department of Defense.

Women employed at the local level in the public sector are most likely to be elementary and middle school teachers, teacher assistants, secondary school teachers, and secretaries and administrative assistants. Men employed at the local government level are more likely to be police and sheriff's patrol officers, elementary and middle school teachers, secondary school teachers, janitors, and firefighters.

Due to the recession and the dwindling of economic stimulus funding, state and local government budgets have decreased, resulting in layoffs. While the private sector gained 17,000 jobs in August, the public sector lost an equal number resulting in a zero jobs gains last month.  

These numbers are disappointing for me in a few ways. I always hate to hear that women and men continue to dominate their traditional fields - I would love to see more cross over. It's also unfortunate that jobs that are traditionally "women's jobs" continue to be less valued in our society (which is apparent to me when we see these kinds of cuts in education).