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Abby Lane, Fellow

My Take

The Wage Gap Over Time – 2013 Update

Posted by Abby Lane, Fellow | Posted on: April 09, 2013 at 03:51 pm

Equal Pay Day provides a moment to take stock of our progress during the 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act: today more women are in the labor force, women are pursuing post-secondary education at higher rates, and the pay gap between men and women has narrowed by 18 cents.

 Here’s what was happening back in 1963 . . .

  • The Beatles released their debut album, Please Please Me.
  • Leave that rotary phone behind! The touch-tone phone was introduced!
  • In 1963, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap was 41 cents.

 And where things stood in 2011 . . .

  • In another act from across the pond, Adele’s album 21 topped charts around the world.
  • Touch-tones gave way to touch-screens. I personally joined the ranks of what many people now considered the norm: owning a smartphone. Other technology that probably sounded like sci-fi in the 1960s but was commonplace in 2011: iPads, Kindles, Roku, and so on.
  • In 2011, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap is 23 cents.

When you look at the way some things have changed, 1963 feels like ancient history. . Yet there wage gap is one vestige of our past that’s alive and well – five decades later.


Women’s Employment Update: Women Add Only 25,000 Jobs Amidst Weak March Job Gains

Posted by Abby Lane, Fellow | Posted on: April 05, 2013 at 04:09 pm

Today’s release of March jobs data brought far less exciting news than February. The economy added only 88,000 jobs last month, less than 30% of which went to women and unemployment rates were little changed for adult women and men, hovering around 7 percent.

Here are the numbers that stood out to me as we crunched the numbers for today’s NWLC analysis:

  • 25,000: That’s the number of jobs women gained in March and it’s less than 30 percent of the total jobs added last month. It’s a tiny number and nowhere near what is necessary for a real recovery. Since the recovery started in June 2009, women and men have each gained private sector jobs, but public sector losses continue to hold everyone back – particularly women.

    Job change in the recovery (June 2009 - March 2013)

  • 12,000: That’s the number of manufacturing jobs that women lost last month, while men gained 9,000. Just a few weeks ago we published an analysis of how the manufacturing recovery has been nonexistent for women. In his State of the Union address, President Obama praised the manufacturing gains since January 2010, just three years prior. But here’s the full story: Since January 2010, the economy has gained over a half million manufacturing jobs — men have gained 557,000, while women have actually lost 36,000. This isn’t a recovery for women in “man”ufacturing.

For Equal Pay Day NWLC Releases Materials Providing Fresh Insight into the Wage Gap

April 9 is Equal Pay Day –the day more than three months into the year when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. In “honor” of the occasion National Women’s Law Center is releasing fresh data and analysis on the persistent wage gap between men and women.

This is also a big birthday year – something actually worth celebrating – the Equal Pay Act turns 50 in June! But on the eve of that happy occasion, here’s another downer: As reported in The Wage Gap by State for Women Overall, 50 years in, the wage gap is still going strong all across the U.S.

Since 1963, when the Equal Pay Act became law, we’ve narrowed the wage gap by only 18 cents, and in the last ten years that gap hasn’t closed at all. For the last decade, the median annual earnings of women have lagged behind men – women working full time, year round have made roughly 77 cents for every dollar made by men working full time, year round. We’ve still got a whopping 23 cents to go before we close the wage gap. Even if the wheels of progress were to start turning again today, if we only close the gap another 18 cents in the next 50 years, we’ve got 64 years before the wage gap closes.


Unemployment Rate for Female Gulf War-Era II Veterans Even Higher than for Male Veterans

Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on veterans’ unemployment for 2012. We analyzed the data and found that the unemployment rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans is substantially higher than for male veterans and, unlike the rate for male veterans, did not improve in the past year.

Here are six facts you need to know about unemployment among Gulf War-era II veterans:

  • The overall unemployment rate of Gulf War-era II veterans (those who have served on active duty any time since September 2001) declined to 9.9 percent in 2012 from 12.1 percent in 2011. However, women did not share in the decline in unemployment among Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012 – the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans declined to 9.5 percent from 12.0 percent. The unemployment rate of female Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012, 12.5 percent, was essentially unchanged from 2011 (12.4 percent).

Women’s Employment Update: February brings good news but there’s a long road ahead

Posted by Abby Lane, Fellow | Posted on: March 08, 2013 at 02:39 pm

Today’s release of February jobs data brought pretty good news – 236,000 jobs added to the economy and the overall unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.7 percent. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go.

Here are the highlights from today’s NWLC analysis:

  • The overall story in February was good, but women only gained one-third of the jobs added last month. The economy added 236,000 jobs between January and February, only 80,000 of which went to women.
  • Public sector losses continued in February. Both women and men lost public sector jobs in February, bringing the total number of public sector jobs lost over the recovery to 462,000 for women and 280,000 for men.
  •  Unemployment rates fell for adult women and men, but still remain unacceptably high. Adult women’s and men’s unemployment rates fell in February – to 7.0 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. While these rates are an improvement since the recession began in December 2007, they still aren’t very good when put in historical context: apart from this recession, adult women have not seen unemployment rates above 7 percent in nearly 30 years – for men it is over 20.