New jobs figures from July show much less job growth than in the previous month, and while women were the majority of those who gained jobs, they continue to face a higher jobs deficit than men, according to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics latest Employment Situation release. Unemployment fell, but continues at historically high levels with 8.0 million women unemployed and looking for work, and continues to disproportionately impact women and people of color.

Women were the majority (64.6 percent) of the 1.8 million employees added to non-farm payroll since mid-June, but women’s payroll employment is still 6.9 million (9 percent) below February 2020, compared with men’s jobs deficit of 6 million (7.8 percent below February). Women’s employment on non-farm pay rolls increased by 1.1 million between mid-June and mid-July 2020. Job gains were less than half of what were the previous month (4.8 million in total, of which 2.9 million went to women).

Women’s payroll employment grew in almost all major sectors of the economy (Figure 1), but continues to be substantially below February’s pre-COVID 19 levels (Figure 2). Difference in the distribution of women’s and men’s job growth largely reflect pre-crisis gender differences in the employment composition of industries (Table 1).

As in previous months, employment in Leisure and Hospitality added the largest number of jobs for both women and men, but this is also the sector where employment levels are still furthest below their February levels. Women’s employment is still 2.3 million below what it was in February, at just 74 percent of its level in February. Other sectors where women’s employment is still substantially below pre-COVID levels are Education and Health Services (still down 1.3 million jobs for women), Professional and Business Services (down by 794,000 jobs), Government (down by 665,000 jobs), and Retail (down by 593,000 jobs; Figure 2). Child Day Care Services added 45,000 jobs, but overall employment in this sector is still at just 79 percent of its February level. The slow recovery of child care services, a sector that largely employs women, highlights the difficulties for many parents, and particularly mothers, in returning to employment as the economy reopens.