Romney's Claim On Female Jobs Loss: Missing Context

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) – Mitt Romney, eager to close the persistent gender gap opening up between himself and President Barack Obama, has begun using an eyebrow-raising statistic on the campaign trail.

"Did you know that of all the jobs lost during the Obama years, 92.3% are women? During the Obama years, women have suffered," Romney told a crowd Tuesday in Pennsylvania.

He made the claim again Wednesday in an interview on Fox News, saying "Over 92% of the jobs lost under this president were lost by women. His polices have been really a war on women."

An analysis of federal labor statistics shows that the claim is technically true but is missing important context.

The number of non-farm employed women from January 2009, when Obama took office, to March 2012 did fall far more than the number of employed men in that period. The total job loss for the period for both men and women combined was 740,000. The number of women who lost non-farm jobs in that timespan was 683,000, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That amounts to 92.3% - the figure Romney cites in his campaign talking point. However, the statistic does not reflect that men constituted a much larger chunk of the job loss pie in the year leading up to Obama’s inauguration.

In the 2008 calendar year, men lost a total of 2.7 million non-farm jobs, compared to 895,000 jobs lost for women. Men made up 75.4% of the 3.6 million jobs lost that year.

Romney’s claim also does not reflect that job loss for women began in March 2008, almost a full year before Obama took office. At that point, women held a total of 67.3 million non-farm payroll jobs, the highest level of female employment of the Bush administration. From that high point, the number of women with non-farm payroll jobs fell for 23 consecutive months, spanning from the final 10 months of the Bush administration and first 13 months of the Obama administration. Since February 2010, women have actually gained 863,000 jobs.

CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

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