“The [jobs] report strongly suggests that the labor market dynamics are tilting in the direction of women,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US, said in a note to clients. “We all often look for tangible evidence of change. It is now here in the data and can be used as a benchmark to measure equality and inequality in the labor force and the economy.”

The gap between men and women on payrolls had been narrowing over recent years, reflecting growth in services industries that employ higher numbers of women, such as health care.

“The sectors that are growing, like education and health care, are predominantly women’s employment,” said Ariane Hegewisch, program director of employment and earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Looking at the 21st century, it is really amazing how profound some of the [sex] segregation is in the labor market.”