More important stats to think about before you vote exactly one month from today (OMG!): For the first time since January 2009, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped below 8.0 percent to 7.8 percent. That’s a big stat for President Obama to tout, following a week in which Governor Romney gained much steam following a debate performance that energized his campaign and voter-base. According to a Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis released on Friday, it’s good news for women, too.


There was a LOT of jobs talk on that stage!

The IWPR report indicated that job growth was evenly divided with women and men each gaining 57,000 jobs. From the release:

Women experienced strong job gains in education and health services (40,000 jobs added), financial activities (15,000 jobs), and professional and business services (14,000 jobs). Since January 2012, an average of 146,000 jobs have been added each month, 43 percent of which went to women.

Despite the report adding that we’re still 82,000 jobs below what we had in February 2009, our “job growth has accelerated in the past year,” so there is something to feel good about there.

Were you one of the women who went back to work in September?

OK, but there’s a caveat here, too: not all the job news is good news.

IWPR analysis of the BLS payroll data shows women have regained 46 percent (1.2 million) of the total jobs they lost in the recession from December 2007 to the trough for women’s employment in September 2010 (2.7 million). The picture looks somewhat better for men, who have regained nearly 50 percent (3.0 million) of the jobs they lost between December 2007 and the trough for men’s employment in February 2010 (6.1 million).

This is something that Stephanie Coontz was talking about in her article “The Myth of Male Decline” when she discussed how women weren’t doing a strong job of bouncing back post-recession, and how men were actually taking the jobs women were holding before they lost them.

The unemployment numbers aren’t quite as solid for young people and minority youths. These non-seasonally adjusted numbers come from Generation Opportunity , “the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the US, engaging and mobilizing young Americans on the important economic issues facing the nation”:

•The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds specifically for September 2012 is 11.8 percent (NSA)

•The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans for September 2012 is 21.0 percent (NSA); the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for September 2012 is 12.1 percent (NSA); and the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women for September 2012 is 11.6 percent (NSA)

…wherein we come to realize, yet again, that telling the whole story of unemployment numbers can’t be done by giving the overall national figure a thumbs up or thumbs down.

What’s your situation? Have you felt a change in the last few months? Are you encouraged or discouraged to see these new jobs and unemployment figures?

P.S. Did you see our awesome presidential candidate word clouds?