San José has been the territorial fulcrum of Costa Rica's post-World War II socioeconomic exceptionalism relative not only to Central America but to the periphery of the world economy at large. Research on the contemporary reorganization of the world economy underscores the gendered aspects of widening socioeconomic inequalities on an international scale. From these standpoints, this paper analyzes change in San Jośe's labor market in terms of two basic questions. First, to what extent has the recent experience of very small countries on the periphery reflected the baseline features of restructured inequalities of employment and gender as portrayed in the literature on global transformation during the late twentieth century? And second, given that the aggregate prosperity of Costa Rica since its economic crisis of the early 1980s has been premised on neoliberal reforms, to what extent have shifts in the gender contours of San José's labor market amounted to recovery or loss compared with its socioeconomic exceptionalism of the pre-crisis era?