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60 Percent of Women’s Job Gains in the Recovery are in Low-Wage Jobs - Six Things You Need to Know About This Recovery

A new analysis released by NWLC today reveals a startling new fact: 60 percent of women’s job gains in the recovery are in low-wage jobs. That’s right: 60 percent. Twenty percent of men’s job gains in the recovery are in low-wage jobs.

60% of Women’s Job Gains in the Recovery Are in Low-Wage Jobs

Here are the top six things you need to know about the kinds of jobs women and men are gaining in the recovery:

1. These jobs are in a variety of industries – but they are mostly service jobs.

We examined the 10 largest low-wage jobs (defined in this analysis as jobs that typically pay less than $10.10 per hour).  That list includes childcare workers; maids and housekeepers; home health aides; personal care aides; cashiers; waiters and waitresses; combined food preparers and servers; bartenders; food preparation workers; and hand packers and packagers.

2. The massive gain in low-wage jobs represents a sharp downward trend for women workers.

Sixty percent of the total net increase in employment for women between 2009, the first year of the recovery, and 2012 came in these 10 jobs.  This represents disproportionate growth in low-wage jobs, since these jobs employed less than 15 percent of all working women in 2009.

3. Men are also disproportionately adding low-wage jobs.

Twenty percent of men’s total net increase in employment between 2009 and 2012 came in these 10 low-wage occupations, though these jobs employed less than four percent of all working men in 2009.

4. Women, and especially women of color, are already disproportionately represented in these jobs.

Women are over three-quarters of the workforce in the 10 largest low-wage occupations, but just under half of the overall workforce. Women of color are over one-third of the workforce in the ten largest low-wage jobs, but comprise less than one-sixth of the overall workforce.

Women's Share of Low-Wage and Overall Workforces

5. Raising the minimum and tipped minimum wages would make a difference for workers in low-wage jobs.

All of these jobs typically pay less than $10.10 per hour.  The Fair Minimum Wage Act, currently pending in both the House and the Senate, would raise the minimum wage – currently just $7.25 per hour – to $10.10 per hour, and increase the tipped minimum wage.  This increase would raise the incomes of over 30 million workers.

6. Investing in public services – instead of slashing them – would preserve and create good jobs.

Brutal cuts to public services have cost women hundreds of thousands of better-paid public sector jobs since the start of the recovery.  Bringing back work for teachers, nurses, and first responders is key to a strong recovery.

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