Among the jobless, a large gender gap

(CBS News) PHILADELPHIA - The job market is still very tight. The Labor Department said Friday the unemployment rate went up in 44 states in July. And it turns out women who lose their jobs are finding it much tougher to find work than men.

Sixty-one-year-old Beatrice Sims decided to take an early retirement from her job as a Pennsylvania social worker in 2007. She thought she'd have more time to volunteer at her Philadelphia church.

But her expenses overwhelmed her savings. She's been looking for full time work for more than two years.

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"There were times for a while I was having sleepless nights," said Sims. "I've done that. I'd wake up maybe at 3:00 in the morning [and like], 'Oh my gosh, gotta pay the property taxes."

Women are the majority of clients at this Philadelphia career center. And more women are having a harder time finding work at job fairs. According to a review of government statistics by the National Women's Law Center, 2.7 million jobs have been created since the recovery began in June of 2009. But just 567,000 have gone to women.

The job deficit for African-American women is even greater. The number of unemployed black women has increased by 171,000 since June of 2009.

"There are thousands of people out here now that do have work histories, that do have experience, that are excellent workers, that have wonderful work ethic. And we're not able to find employment," said Sims.

Men are taking new jobs in industries where women have traditionally worked, like retail. Another major factor in the gender gap? Cuts in government jobs, where 57 percent of workers are women.

Does Sims get discouraged? "You know, I get frustrated," she said, "and there are times that I get discouraged. I know I am not helpless, that I am looking for help. But the hope is there still there."

But it will take time to close the gender gap. Economists predict it could take three years or more to get America's unemployed women back to work.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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