Unemployment data appear to show big advances for women, but those numbers are deceiving, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

The jobless rate in August for females 20 years and older was 6.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, compared with 7.1 percent for men. As recently as January, the rate was 7.3 percent for both genders, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

The downside is that the gains for women have been largely in low-paying jobs such as waitressing, in-home health care, food preparation and housekeeping. About 60 percent of the increase in women's employment from 2009 to 2012 was in jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour, versus 20 percent for men, according to a study by the National Women's Law Center. 

 

The numbers expose a soft spot in the economic recovery, which has reduced the overall unemployment rate from 10 percent in October 2009. The quality of jobs is an increasing concern for U.S. policymakers and economists, because it affects income levels and wage disparity.