There was good news in July as adult women’s unemployment rate matched its recovery-era low at 6.5 percent. However, this rate is still 1.5 times as high as the unemployment rate for adult women when the recession began in December 2007. Additionally – adult African-American women, adult Hispanic women, and single moms all still have unemployment rates several percentage points above this level.
July also proved to be a less-than-impressive month on the jobs front. The economy added 162,000 jobs in July, 117,000 of which were gained by women. However, adding 162,000 jobs each month is far below what we need to get back to pre-recession employment levels including absorbing the growth in the population. In fact, here’s a (sad) fact for the day: at this pace, it will take nearly 11 years, until 2024, to close the jobs gap, according to estimates by the Hamilton Project.
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.
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.
So what’s the main take away? Women have made much better job gains in the recovery over the past couple of years, but there is a still a long way to go to a full recovery.
Our new report gives you all the details on the numbers, but here are a few key points:
Unemployment rates have declined for adult women and dramatically for adult men since the start of the recovery: from 7.6 percent in June 2009 to 6.8 percent in June 2013 for adult women and from 9.9 percent in June 2009 to 7.0 percent in June 2013 for adult men. However, unemployment rates for both adult women and men in June 2013 were still more than one and a half times higher than in December 2007.
Today’s release of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs data for May brought familiar news: 175,000 jobs were added to the economy and the overall unemployment rate held pretty steady, creeping up a smidge to 7.6 percent. Women gained almost half of last month’s jobs (82,000 jobs) and adult women’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent in May – the lowest level since January 2009.
While these job gains are welcome, don’t pour the champagne just yet – these kinds of numbers aren’t enough to jumpstart the recovery for the millions of Americans who are unemployed – or the new workers graduating this month.
2022: As I mentioned above, 175,000 jobs added last month – that’s pretty close to the average monthly gain over the last six months. But, at this pace, it will take until 2022 to close the jobs gap, according to estimates by the Hamilton Project. They define the “jobs gap” as the number of jobs the U.S. needs to add to return to pre-recession employment levels when you account for people who are currently unemployed, as well as those who will join the economy as the population grows. So while 175,000 is pretty good, we’re going to need to add a lot more jobs each month to speed up the recovery – nine years is too long to wait for a full recovery.
Here’s a highlight for you in the release of last month’s jobs data: in April, adult women’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in more than four years. That’s right, the last time unemployment was this low was in the first months of 2009.
But hey there, hold your horses. Don’t get too excited yet!
So what else stands out in today’s jobs report? Here’s what caught my eye as we crunched the numbers for today’s NWLC analysis:
6.7 percent: This represents the good. Unemployment rates continue to fall, and women’s unemployment rate hit a four-year low last month at 6.7 percent. In April, adult men’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly, while the overall unemployment rate fell ever so slightly, also to a four-year low. Overall, we’re doing better, but we’re gaining jobs at a crushingly slow pace, especially compared to earlier recoveries.