10/22/2013 05:32 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2013

Jobs Report Shows Progress For Women On Key Measure


While the September jobs report released Tuesday was largely disappointing, it contained some good news for women, who saw the largest gain in public sector jobs in over three years.

Women gained 48,000 jobs in the public sector, reversing a trend that has made it harder for them to recover from the recession. It was the largest single-month gain for women since May 2010, according to an analysis by the National Women's Law Center, and put them far ahead of men, who lost 26,000 public sector jobs in September.

Since June 2009, women have gained 2.5 million private sector jobs, but lost 380,000 public sector jobs, while men gained 3.8 million private sector jobs over the same period and lost only 325,000 public sector jobs. Women's public sector losses have canceled out 14.8 percent of their private sector gains, while that figure is only 8.4 percent for men.

The September uptick for women was in large part due to back-to-school hiring, according to the National Women's Law Center. Women make up about 70 percent of public education workers, and state and local government education added about 30,000 jobs in September. But while the news is good, there are still 116,900 fewer employees in state and local education now than there were before the recession in 2007.

"It hasn’t even begun to make up for the cuts public education saw during the recession and recovery," said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, senior policy analyst at NWLC.

Overall, the percentage of unemployed adult women ticked slightly down in September from 6.3 percent in August to 6.2 percent in September. The overall unemployment rate for people over the age of 16 is 7.2 percent.

"Now policymakers have a chance to craft a budget that ends sequestration, invests in job creation, and protects programs women and their families depend on," Robbins said. "Millions of hard-working women and families are counting on them.”