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Unemployment Picture Worsens, Especially For Women of Color

Today's jobs data show that while the economy keeps adding jobs, unemployment rates increased for everyone, particularly for women of color, and women continue to suffer from disproportionately small job gains in the recovery.

Although the economy added 244,000 jobs last month, overall unemployment increased for just about everyone in April. The rate among men and women rose from 8.6 percent to 8.8 percent and 7.7 percent to 7.9 percent, respectively.  Unemployment also increased among women of color last month. In fact, unemployment among African-American women rose by almost an entire percentage point, from 12.5 percent in March to 13.4 percent in April. Unemployment among African-American men also rose, although to a much lesser degree, from 16.8 percent in March to 17.0 percent in April. The rate among Hispanic women also increased from 11.0 percent in March to 11.4 percent in April, while unemployment among Hispanic men declined from 11.1 percent in March to 10.3 percent in April.

Unemployment Rates by Selected Characteristics Over the Recovery

Our analysis shows that women are still suffering from an inequitable recovery. Since the official start of the recovery in July 2009, all of the new job growth has gone to men while women actually lost jobs. Female workers suffered 30 percent of the job loss over the recession, but they haven’t regained 3 out of 10 jobs added to the economy in the recovery. In fact, while men have gained 937,000 jobs since the start of the recovery (July 2009 – present), women have actually lost 102,000 jobs. And while the men's unemployment rate has fallen an entire percentage points since the start of the recovery to 8.8 percent in April, women’s unemployment has increased from 7.7 percent to 7.9 percent in April.

Millions of women and families continue to struggle, and a full and shared recovery is still far off. I hope that this month's news sounds an alarm bell for policymakers entertaining the idea of making deep cuts that could jeopardize our fragile economy.

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