Women regain jobs faster in recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) – The slowly recovering U.S. job market has helped women rebound faster than men: They’ve now regained all the jobs they lost to the Great Recession. Men are still 2.1 million jobs short.

And the gender gap is expected to persist until the job market is much healthier.

Lower-wage industries, like retail, education, restaurants and hotels, have been hiring the fastest. Women are predominant in those areas. Men, by contrast, dominate sectors like construction and manufacturing, which have yet to recover millions of jobs lost in the recession.

The August jobs report issued last week spotlighted the divergence:

The unemployment rate for women was 6.8 percent – nearly a full percentage point less than the 7.7 percent rate for men.

All told, 68 million women said they were employed last month. That topped the 67.97 million who had jobs when the recession began in December 2007, the government says.

Among men, 76.2 million were employed last month. That was down from 78.3 million in December 2007.