Commentary Magazine


Are Women Hurt the Most in Job Market?

Mitt Romney said yesterday that women lost 92.3 percent of all jobs lost under the Obama administration, a claim that earned the suspicious distinction of “true but false” from the Washington Post fact-check team. The reason for this contradictory finding? While WaPo conceded the statistic was mathematically accurate, they added the odd, squishy disclaimer that it “may simply [be] a function of a coincidence of timing — a brief blip that could have little to do with ‘Obama’s job market.’”

But while it might be unfair to say Obama’s policies are fully responsible for the disproportionate impact the recession has had on women, there’s no denying that fact that women have been hit hardest. Even WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler notes this in his analysis:

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.  In fact, the latest employment report shows that male participation in the work force was up 14,000 while female participation fell 177,000, in part because women tend to work in retail or government jobs (such as teaching), which have been cut in recent months.

They’ve been cut in recent months because they were either temporary jobs (retail) or because stimulus money that once shielded certain jobs is now running out (education). This was an outcome many warned about and will likely continue as the year goes on. While the recent drop in unemployment has been encouraging, most of the job growth has been in low-wage sectors and temporary positions.

Romney is right to criticize Obama for the job-loss gender gap, particularly because Democrats have been falsely claiming that the GOP has been waging a war on women. But Romney also needs to explain why his policies would address the high job loss among women, and why Obama’s have so far failed to do so.