In the first six months of the year an extra 25,800 women have found jobs while the number of men with jobs has fallen by 56,400. And the extra jobs for women are not, as widely believed, part time. Bureau of Statistics trend figures show the number of women employed full time has climbed 26,500 this year while the number of men employed full time has dropped by almost 100,000.
Asked why he thinks women are doing well when men are suffering, the Melbourne Institute labour economist Mark Wooden said the male story was "a classical downturn story".
"The female story on the other hand is completely bizarre. The only explanation I can come up with is that the industries that are continuing to do well are those that employ women."
An examination of industry trends reveals employment has been growing in the fields of health care, social administration and arts and recreation while shrinking in mining, manufacturing and real estate, which appears to lend weight to Professor Wooden's suspicions.
It is not the only clear feature in the latest employment figures. Of the 30,600 jobs lost, all but 400 have been lost by teenagers.
This does not mean adults have escaped losing their lost jobs in large numbers.
It means that almost all the jobs lost by adults this year have been replaced by new jobs offered to adults.
The young have not been so lucky. Teenage unemployment has climbed from 13.5 per cent to 17.4 per cent.
"Employers are hoarding labour," said the Commonwealth Bank economist Michael Workman. "Unfortunately it means young job seekers lose out."
The unemployment rate barely changed in June, inching up just 0.07 points to 5.8 per cent. This confounds repeated forecasts that the rate is about to surge.
"If the consensus forecasts since October had been correct, by now we would have lost 118,000 jobs," Mr Workman said. "Instead we have lost 25,000. Jobs are holding up because low interest rates and massive government spending have lifted incomes and confidence."
NSW remains by far the worst performing state, although Victoria appears to be catching up, losing 13,200 jobs in the first half of the year, more than double the 6200 lost in NSW.
The NSW and Victorian unemployment rates stand at 6.5 per cent and 6 per cent, which is well above the national average and way above the 5.4 per cent in Queensland and 5.1 per cent in Western Australia.
Yesterday the Employment Minister, Julia Gillard, stood by the budget forecast that unemployment would peak at 8.5 per cent, but other analysts began to lower their forecasts. "We're now expecting the unemployment rate to top out at just 6.5 to 7 per cent," CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said. "However, it's important to remember that employers are cutting hours if not jobs and that will dampen consumer spending."
Yesterday Austrade's DHL export barometer lent weight to the theory that employers are reluctant to shed staff.
The survey found most exporters expected orders to pick up in the coming year.