The National Women’s Law Center report finds that even as black men and other demographic groups begin to gain jobs, black women are losing them. Between June 2009 and June 2011, black women lost 258,000 jobs while black men gained 127,000. Black women also lost ground compared to women as a whole: Black women made up 1 in 8 of all women workers in June 2009, but over the course of the following two years, they accounted for more than 25% of jobs lost by women overall. Incredibly, black women lost more jobs during the recovery than they did during the recession.
Why the change in fortunes? “We hear back from women suggesting that some employers think it’s more important for men to get back to work than for women,” Joan Entmacher, the National Women’s Law Center’s vice president for family economic security, told Crain’s New York. “I suspect that is one of the things at work.”
But as the report points out, black women — not men — make up a majority of the black workforce and head a majority of families with children. If employers are making hiring decisions based on their desire to strengthen the black community, it may actually be more important to make sure women have good jobs.