Over the past few years, we’ve all heard a lot of people blame a lot of different things for high unemployment. Is it high taxes? Burdensome regulations? An angry jobs monster?
This week, Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post reviewed economic evidence which reveals that the biggest driver of high unemployment is low demand. Over 8 percent of Americans are unemployed, and lower-income and middle-class Americans have seen their income and wealth decrease over the last decade. So as you might imagine, many are pinching their pennies and spending less on goods and services. The end result is that businesses don’t have enough money or confidence to hire more workers.
The key, then, to really chipping into high unemployment numbers is creating more demand for goods and services. Matthews suggests looser monetary policy and fiscal stimulus. Here’s another idea: increase the minimum wage. Read more »
If you read our blog or our report on how women are doing three years into the recovery, you know that public sector job losses are really slowing the recovery for women. For every 10 private sector jobs women have gained in the recovery, they’ve lost more than four public sector jobs.
But the impact of the unprecedented public sector job cuts we’ve seen recently is far broader. A new report from Brookings highlights these key facts:
Teachers (overwhelmingly women) experienced the largest number of public sector job losses. But the biggest percentage declines were in public safety jobs: emergency responders (-43.5%), air-traffic controllers (-28.5%), and fire fighters (-18.9%).
The percentage of workers employed in the public sector (federal, state and local) as a share of the population is at its lowest level in over 30 years.
If public sector employment had remained steady since the start of the recession, the economy would have an additional 1.7 million jobs and the unemployment rate would be 7.1 percent instead of 8.2 percent.
And public sector job cuts aren’t just hurting workers, their families, and the economy today. The Brookings report also looks at the long-term impact on the economy of the cuts in just one area – education. Fewer teachers mean more students per class: and recent research, cited in the report, finds that larger class sizes mean lower wages for today’s children when they join the workforce.Read more »
Jobs data released this morning for the month of May brought mixed news. Our analysis shows that actual job growth in May was meager; just 69,000 jobs were added to the overall economy. The picture for women was brighter – women gained 95,000 jobs in May, the second largest monthly gain for women in the last twelve months. However, there isn’t much to celebrate as men lost 26,000 jobs last month.
How does this affect the recovery overall? Women still account for a disproportionately small share of the gains in the recovery – women have gained only 22.5 percent of the 2.5 million net jobs added to the economy since the recovery started in June 2009, even though they suffered 28.4 percent of the job loss in the recession (December 2007-June 2009). But losing jobs for men is no way to close the gap.
The bottom line is that we still have a long way to go for a full recovery for everyone.
Key facts from today’s data:
We need more jobs. Women have regained only about a quarter of the jobs they lost in the recession while men have regained just about a third. Overall we still have nearly five million fewer jobs now than we did when the recession began in December 2007.
We really, really, need more public sector jobs. The public sector lost 13,000 jobs last month (10,000 by men, 3,000 by women). For the recovery overall, public sector losses have hurt growth: the 601,000 jobs lost in the public sector have wiped out nearly 20 percent of private sector gains. For women public sector losses in the recovery have been even more painful; these losses have wiped out nearly 40 percent of their private sector gains.
Little changed with unemployment rates overall. Adult women’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.4 percent for the third month in a row, while adult men’s unemployment rate went up from last month, to 7.8 percent in May.
Two steps forward, one step back. That’s the story of the recovery for women.
Our analysis of April’s monthly jobs data brought fairly positive news for women, who gained 73 percent of the 115,000 jobs last month, the largest share of monthly job gains for women since the start of the recovery. But the total monthly job gains in April were the lowest in 2012. And the story for women during the recovery overall isn’t as rosy.
Women have gained only 16 percent of the nearly 2.5 million jobs added during the recovery, and their slow gains are driven largely by public sector losses. In fact, for every two jobs women gained in the private sector during the recovery, they lost one in the public sector. Men also have lost public sector jobs during the recovery, but their public sector job losses are smaller both in absolute terms and relative to their private sector job gains, as the chart below shows.
Other fast facts you should know:
Unemployment rates dropped slightly. April brought a slight decrease in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent overall. Men’s unemployment rate also dropped slightly, to 7.5 percent. However, the unemployment rate for women held steady at 7.4 percent. The decreases in the unemployment rates are largely due to people leaving the labor force.
It’s the first Friday of the month and we’re back with our analysis of this month’s jobs data. While the recovery isn’t yet in full swing for women, March’s jobs numbers brought some good news.
Here is what you should know:
Unemployment rates dropped. March was the first month in which adult women’s unemployment rate (7.4 percent) was lower than their 7.6 percent unemployment rate at the start of the recovery in June 2009. Adult men’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than women’s in March (7.6 percent), but was down 2.3 percentage points since the recovery began.
Adult black women’s unemployment rate remained above their rate at the start of the recovery. In March, adult black women’s unemployment rate was 12.3 percent, still higher than it was in June 2009 (11.6 percent). The unemployment rates for single moms, adult black men, and adult Hispanic men and women were lower than at the start of the recovery, but all had unemployment rates that remained well above the national average.
On Tuesday from 1-2pm ET NWLC’s Vice President of Family Economic Security Joan Entmacher and I will be live chatting with The Nation’s Bryce Covert about what obstacles women still face in the economy. We’ll be talking about women dropping out of the labor force, being left behind in the recovery, receiving unfair pay, and other topics. Join us and bring your questions!
MANuFACTuring statistic #1: In 2011 manufacturing employment increased for the first time in more than a decade, with annual average employment rising by 205,000 jobs. Unfortunately, women did not share in these gains. In fact, between 2010 and 2011 men’s annual average employment in manufacturing increased by 230,000 jobs while women’s dropped by 25,000 jobs. This divergence was a change from the trend during the recession, when the declines in manufacturing employment were borne proportionately by women and men.
They're at it again. I'm sure you remember the feverish news cycle — federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits were set to expire right before the holidays in December. House Republicans passed a bill that would slash the UI safety net (and more). At the last minute, Congress agreed to continue federal UI benefits for two months. But that extension expires in less than a month. We need your help to prevent millions of unemployed workers from losing the lifeline of UI benefits.
It’s the first month of jobs data for 2012 and January is off to a good start, according to NWLC’s number crunching this morning. The newly released jobs data for January brought some good news – drops in unemployment and job gains for both women and men this month.
Here are a few things you should know from today’s jobs data:
Women’s and men’s unemployment is the same for the first time since the start of the recession. When the recession officially began in December 2007, the unemployment rate for both women and men stood at 4.4 percent. Over two and a half years later, their unemployment rates finally meet again – at 7.7 percent. Since the start of the recovery in June 2009, men’s unemployment has dropped 2.2 percentage points, while women’s unemployment has essentially remained flat – rising slightly from 7.6 percent in June 2009.