The unemployment rate jumped from 6.8 percent to 7.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. Between December 2007 and December 2008, however, the rate has climbed from 4.4 percent to 7.2 percent for men and from 4.3 percent to 5.9 percent for women, USA Today reported Monday.
Jobs held by women in the relatively stable fields of healthcare and education compared with the instability of construction and manufacturing jobs have accounted for much of the discrepancy, the newspaper reported.
Jobs in healthcare and education combined to grow 2.9 percent last year. Seventy-five percent of the workers in those fields are women.
In contrast, men make up 93 percent of the workforce in construction and 72 percent in manufacturing. These sectors lost 1,423,000 jobs last year with construction jobs dropping 8.5 percent and manufacturing jobs shrinking 5.7 percent.