Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Data

Women's Employment Update: Women’s job growth continues with 86,000 new jobs, but public sector job losses undercut gains

This month’s job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics included a notable first: for the first time since December 2007, there are more jobs than at the start of the recession. Although this represents progress, it is important to note that in order for the economy to have enough jobs for all the new people joining the labor force each month, it would take another 4 years of adding 217,000 jobs each month.

In May, women’s gains accounted for 40 percent of job growth, with 86,000 of the 217,000 new jobs since April. However, look a little closer and the picture is less rosy.

What stood out to me right away were women’s losses in public sector jobs. Although public sector employment overall increased by 1,000 this month, the gains were all in men’s jobs. Women lost 8,000 public sector jobs in May and since the recovery began in June 2009, women’s public sector job losses have wiped out 13.0 percent of their private sector gains. Men’s public sector job losses have wiped out 5.6 percent of their private sector gains. Government cuts resulting in public sector job losses have slowed the recovery, and this is especially true for women. Read more »

5 Things We Know About the Jobs of the Future

We’ve told you about how the jobs that women have gained back since the Great Recession ended have been disproportionately low-wage. In fact, 60 percent of the jobs women gained since 2009 have been in the 10 largest very low-wage jobs (those that typically pay less than $10.10 per hour). A new NWLC analysis of just-released employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that this alarming trend is expected to continue for the next decade.

Here are 5 things we learned about the jobs with the largest projected growth between 2012 and 2022:

  1. Projected job growth in the next decade is disproportionately in female-dominated occupations. Of the 30 occupations with the largest projected growth in the next decade, nearly two-thirds (18) are female dominated, with workforces that are 60 percent or more female.
  2.  These high-growth jobs are also disproportionately low-wage, with almost half (13) of the 30 jobs typically paying less than $13.83 per hour.
  3. Of the 13 low-wage, high-growth jobs, twice as many are female-dominated compared to male-dominated: eight occupations are female-dominated, four are male-dominated, and one is mixed.

Women’s Employment Update: Women Gain Three-Quarters of the New Jobs But Most Growth Is in Low-Wage Sectors—Again

Today’s monthly jobs report released by Bureau of Labor Statistics shows mixed signs for women and the workforce.  Here are some important figures from NWLC's analysis of the new report:

  • Women gained 125,000 jobs in August, which amount to three-quarters of overall job growth. Most of the new jobs in August, however, were in low-wage sectors, continuing a trend we saw last month and—especially for women—since the start of the recovery. Overall, five low-wage sectors (retail, leisure and hospitality, temporary help, home health care services, and nursing and residential care facilities) made up nearly 60 percent of the net job gains in August, despite the fact that these sectors account for just over one-quarter (27 percent) of the economy.

August 2013 Jobs Numbers

At this rate, the purple wedge in our economy will keep growing and women will continue to struggle to find well-paying jobs. Read more »

Women’s Employment Update: Women Gain Most of the New Jobs in July As Low-Wage Sectors Grow

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly jobs data for July today and the numbers tell the story of a recovery that is just too slow.

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. Read more »

NWLC Releases a New Report: 50 Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay

This might be difficult, but try, for a minute, to imagine Congress as a group of artisans – glass blowers, perhaps – who must use their breath to shape the world we live in. Actually, that shouldn’t be too difficult. They may not be artistically inclined (or maybe they are) but obviously, Congress is in the business of shaping our lives through debate (aka their breath) and legislative action.

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, yet Congress has apparently forgotten the importance of using its power for positive change. Read more »

Women’s Employment Update: Good Signs in May, but More Progress Needed

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.

Here are some numbers from today’s NWLC analysis:

  • 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.

New NWLC Analysis Brings Media Attention to the Minimum Wage/Fair Pay Connection

States with the 10 smallest wage gaps | Chart courtesy of ThinkProgress

You probably knew that raising the minimum wage would help families escape poverty. But did you think that states with higher minimum wages would also have smaller wage gaps? If so, you’d be right! Yesterday NWLC released a new analysis showing that the average gender wage gap in states with minimum wages above $7.25 per hour (the minimum required by the federal government) is three cents smaller than the average wage gap in states with minimum wages of just $7.25. Three cents might not sound like a lot but if we shaved three cents off the national wage gap of 23 cents we would close it by over 13 percent!

We also showed that among the ten states with the widest wage gaps in 2011, only two had minimum wages above $7.25. Seven of the ten states with the narrowest wage gaps in 2011 had minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25 per hour.

This analysis has already received coverage in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Think Progress, The Week Magazine, Pew Stateline, and several state outlets. We’re excited that the connection between the minimum wage and the wage gap is getting such great attention.

Read more »

Women’s Employment Update: Adult Women’s Unemployment Hits Four-Year Low Despite April’s Tepid Job Growth

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!

While this number may be looking pretty good, the overall story just isn’t quite as nice. April brought in another month of slow job growth and slow monthly gains mean that it still could take years to recover fully from the recession. Over at the Economic Policy Institute, economist Heidi Shierholz writes, “In good times this would be fine, but at a time of persistent economic weakness, it represents an ongoing disaster.”

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.

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

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.

Crunching the Numbers: Why We Need More High School Data

National Girls and Women’s Sports Day is a day to celebrate all the successes that girls and women have had so far, but it’s also a day to think about the obstacles we face. One of those is the lack of data surrounding girls in high school athletics – so I sat down with our own Title IX expert, Neena Chaudry, and our data whiz, Kate Gallagher Robbins, to get a better understanding about what we’­­­­­re missing.

Becka: When I e-mailed Kate to talk about sitting together to chat, she joked, “I could do the interview right now – in short, we need more data!” What is the number one aspect you each wish you had more data on?

Neena: I have a list! But the number one thing I wish we had was data for each individual school. Only some schools have data available from the U.S. Department of Education, but many don’t. I’d love to get participation rates broken down by sub= groups – particularly to see the numbers of girls of color on high school teams.

Kate: I would really love to dive even deeper and get some individual-level data. The school has the numbers – how many girls who are playing sports are also taking AP Classes, et cetera. More detail would help us determine some interesting correlations and where the gaps are.

Neena: Could we get that?