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Men Beat Out Women in New Jobs

Prospects for older workers still dismal

In the battle of the sexes, both men and women were bloodied by the deep recession. But during the fragile economic recovery, men snared nearly 90 percent of the 1.2 million new jobs, according to an analysis of government employment data.

From December 2009 through February 2011, men were hired for some 1.1 million jobs while women picked up only about 115,000, according to Sophia Koropeckyj, a managing director at Moody's Analytics, who examined payroll data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Put another way, says Jeff Hayes, a senior research associate at the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, men regained 19 percent of the jobs they lost from their lowest employment level, which was in January 2010. Women recovered just 6 percent of the jobs they lost from their lowest point, which was September 2010.

The lopsided gains for men occurred in both the private and public sectors. But the losses were also lopsided. Between December 2007 and December 2009, men lost 6 million jobs while women lost 2.6 million.

Men suffered disproportionately when the manufacturing and construction industries shed millions of workers during the downturn. Women got hit when financially strapped state and local governments laid off public school teachers and other employees.

Prospects for older workers

Corporate and government downsizing pummeled workers in all age groups in recent years. But older adults found it harder to find work again, according to the latest BLS research on reemployment, released in August.

Among workers ages 25 to 54 who lost their jobs between January 2007 and December 2009, slightly more than one in two had found employment by January 2010. But for those age 55 and older, the success rate was only one in three; and for workers 65-plus, only one in five.

"It's a tragic story for older workers," says Koropeckyj, adding that the unemployment rate doubled for older women and nearly tripled for older men during the recession. "Their job prospects are dismal."

Annette Dyer, 57, left her full-time consulting job of 16 years in September when the company she worked for was bought out. She was given a lesser position and decided to quit. But she didn't expect to be out of work this long.

"This is the first month I'm going into savings" to pay the bills, says Dyer, of Gainesville, Fla., whose husband still works. "I'm networking, taking computer classes and applying to temp agencies."

Next: How the sexes measured up, by sector. >>

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