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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The cuts in the new law are harmful for everyone, but especially for women. In 2012, the unemployment rate was 9.6 percent for women in North Carolina, substantially higher than the rate for men (8.8 percent). Unemployment rates among black men (17.7 percent), black women (13.8 percent), and Hispanic women (11.4 percent) were also much higher than the North Carolina state average. In addition, the law restricts eligibility by, for example, disqualifying workers from benefits if they have to leave a job for health reasons or because of undue family hardship – a change that will particularly impact women. Read more »
The good news this month is continued steady job growth – 157,000 jobs were added to the economy in January, about two-thirds of which went to women. The number isn’t as good as the previous few months, but shows that slowly, but surely, the economy, driven by private sector growth, continues to add jobs. The bad news in the jobs numbers came once again in the public sector: in January, public sector losses cut into private sector gains. Women disproportionately bore these public sector losses in January, mirroring a trend we’ve seen in the recovery overall.
In September 2006, the U.S. hadn't been through the Great Recession, there were no iPhones, and the country had only seen one season of "dancing" stars.
September 2006 was also the last time that adult women's unemployment exceeded men's — that is, until LAST month! According to NWLC analysis of today's new jobs data, adult women's (20+) unemployment rate climbed to 7.3 percent in December, 2012. Women's unemployment edged above men's, which at a 7.2 percent rate was unchanged from November:
Monthly Change in Unemployment Rates (November 2012 – December 2012)
Adult Women (20+)
↑0.3 percentage points
Adult Men (20+)
Source: Current Population Survey
The increase in unemployment for adult women overall was driven by new women job seekers who couldn't find work. Read more »
Did you know that in 2011, Social Security kept 11.7 million women and 1.1 million children out of poverty?
This is just one new fact that we can calculate today thanks to the release of new Census Bureau data that examines a supplemental poverty measure which takes into account the impact of public programs on families' economic security. For more about poverty measurement, see our FAQ.
After an extended recess, Congress officially heads back to work this week — with a lengthy to-do list. Since the election, the attention of both Congress and the media turned to the so-called "fiscal cliff," which refers to the combination of tax cuts and numerous other provisions set to expire at the end of December and a series of automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in January. You can read all about the decisions ahead in NWLC's latest roadmap to the federal budget debates, but in short: if Congress does not act to prevent the loss of jobs and services that deep spending cuts would produce and ensure that low- and moderate-income families do not face substantially higher taxes next year, the fragile economic recovery will suffer a significant setback.
Contrary to what some commentators might suggest, however, the economy will not immediately fall into a recession if Congress does not reach agreement on all of these issues by the end of 2012. Indeed, the "fiscal cliff" is better described as a "fiscal slope," as the economic impact of the changes is likely to be gradual. The hit to families' budgets from tax changes, and to federal program budgets from spending cuts, will be modest as long as Congress acts relatively early in 2013 to renew tax cuts for low- and moderate-income families and cancel automatic cuts. Read more »
The October jobs data were released today by the BLS and while it can’t compare to our stash of Snickers and Peanut Butter Cups, we’re happy to say the news is generally pretty sweet.
171,000 jobs were added in October, continuing several months of strong job growth. Job growth has picked up steam in recent months. However, the recovery has still moved more slowly for women: women regained only 39 percent of the jobs they lost during the recession while men regained 45 percent. Although women gained public sector jobs this month, heavy job losses in the public sector over the recovery continue to be a major factor in the weaker economic recovery for women.
Overall unemployment is essentially unchanged from last month – the slight increase to 7.9 percent is due primarily to jobless workers starting (or restarting) their job hunts. This was also the reason for the small rise in the unemployment rate for adult women, up to 7.2 percent in October. Read more »