Women’s Employment Update: Amid Stronger than Expected Job Growth, Two-Thirds of Jobs Gained by Women are in Low-Wage Sectors
Today’s October jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed higher than expected job growth - but unfortunately there was still plenty of bad news to go around:
Low-wage job growth continued in October, especially for women:
- The economy overall gained 204,000 jobs last month, nearly half of which (97,400) were added in the low-wage sectors of leisure & hospitality and retail.
- These low-wage sector gains disproportionately went to women:
- Two-thirds (60,000) of the 90,000 jobs women gained last month were in leisure & hospitality and retail.
- Only one-third (38,000) of the 114,000 jobs men added last month were in leisure & hospitality and retail.
- Last month’s low-wage gains continued a trend in the recovery – a recent NWLC analysis showed that 60 percent of women’s job gains during the first four years of the recovery came in the ten largest low-wage jobs – compared to just 20 percent of men’s job gains.
Women’s unemployment rate ticked up in October:
- The unemployment rate for adult women rose to 6.4 percent in October from 6.2 percent in September, the unemployment rate for men ticked down slightly, to 7.0 percent from 7.1 percent in September. It’s hard to read too much into this month’s unemployment rates because then rates are affected by last month’s government shutdown (the really short version: some workers who were only temporarily out of work due to the shutdown were counted as unemployed—see the Bureau of Labor Statistics press release for the finer details: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm) but we’ll be keeping close watch on future releases to see if this becomes a trend.
Long-term unemployment remained painfully high:
- Nearly 4.1 million people have been looking for work for six months or more.
- In October, almost 4 in 10 unemployed adult men and women had been searching for a job for six months or more – prior to the latest recession, these rates had not been this high in the more than 60 years these data have been recorded.
- Without action from Congress, the National Employment Law Project estimatesthat federal long-term unemployment benefits will be immediately cut off for 1.3 million workers at the end of this year.
- In 2012, Unemployment Insurance kept more than 1.7 million people from falling into poverty, including 655,000 women and 446,000 children.
- The end of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and the sequester cuts to unemployment insurance mean that fewer people may be lifted out of poverty in 2013 by Unemployment Insurance.
So where do we go from here? I think Joan Entmacher, NWLC’s VP for Family Economic Security, sums it up nicely, “Congress should reauthorize those benefits and pass a budget that creates jobs and protects programs vital to women and their families."
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