Did women account for 92.3 percent of jobs lost under Obama? Not so fast

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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President Barack Obama holds a big lead over Mitt Romney among women voters, but on Tuesday the Romney campaign was busy arguing he shouldn’t. In a press release, the campaign said 92.3 percent of the jobs lost in the U.S. since Obama took office belonged to women.

Romney’s camp blasted that statistic out on Tuesday after a Washington Post/ABC poll showed the president trouncing the former Massachusetts governor among female voters. The number came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Employment Statistics study.

The campaign’s email also noted that the number of women who are unemployed increased by 900,000 between January of 2009, when Obama was elected, and March of 2012 — the most recent month for which BLS has data.

Kara Sullivan, a BLS economist, confirmed the number, but noted that the reality was not quite so dramatic as the number might suggest.

“The overall ratio of jobs held by women has remained unchanged,” she cautioned. “In January 2009, 49.5 percent of jobs in the U.S. were held by women. As of March 2012, 49.3 percent of the jobs were held by women. The 0.2 percent change is statistically insignificant. Jobs held by women still make up the same proportion of all jobs as they did in January 2009.”

And in a stinging rebuke, the Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact website judged the Romney campaigns claim “mostly false,” saying it was unreasonable to blame Obama for job losses that ocurred during his first month in office.

BLS spokesman Gary Steinberg told the Times that that women’s job losses were only elevated because millions of men had already lost their jobs.

“In every recession,” PolitiFact concluded, “men are the first to take the hit, followed by women. It’s a historical pattern … not an effect of Obama’s policies.”

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