This week in the New York Times, Catherine Rampell explained how the recession was affecting the ratio of female to male workers:

The proportion of women who are working has changed very little since the recession started. But a full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work.

Here are the results:


Excluding farm workers and the self-employed, women held 49 percent of the nation’s jobs as of November. Including farm workers and the self-employed, women held 47 percent of jobs.

But, Rampell reminds us:

Women may be safer in their jobs, but tend to find it harder to support a family… Women are much more likely to be in part-time jobs without health insurance or unemployment insurance. Even in full-time jobs, women earn 80 cents for each dollar of their male counterparts’ income…

If the recession continues as it has, the U.S. workforce may soon be majority female.

See also this post on job segregation.