New federal data show women gaining on men in the job market, but it's not necessarily good news for either gender. Between 2000 and 2005, "Women took on slightly more than half of U.S. jobs created in the first part of the decade and made gains in securing the most lucrative openings. Women posted a net increase of 1.7 million jobs paying above the median salary, while men gained a net increase of just over 220,000 of such positions," according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report (free preview available).
Why is this time for cerebration, not celebration, among women?
Because the same data show our men aren't doing that well. When they don't fare well, too, it's no time for celebration among women.
The reason women made gains in the "higher-paying jobs" category is that more women qualified for and found employment in healthcare, finance, and management. Meanwhile men, the majority of whom secure high-paying work in the manufacturing and construction sectors, saw their jobs slipping ever-more-quickly overseas to lower-paid workforces in the case of manufacturing and possibly to lower-paid immigrant workers, in the case of construction. So much for the media image of men as corporate CEOs.
Further, while women made gains in higher-paying jobs, those gains weren't even close to enough to close the doggedly persistent wage gap.
In 2005, the median weekly pay for women was $486 or 73 percent of men's weekly median paycheck of $663. Sounds like we all still have a lot of work to do!