Women Gained 99,000 Jobs in March
According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the April employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained 99,000 jobs on nonfarm payrolls in March, while men gained 93,000 for an increase of 192,000 jobs in March. In March, women’s employment growth was strongest in Professional and Business Services (29,000 jobs gained by women), Retail Trade (26,000 jobs gained by women), Education and Health Services (24,000 jobs gained by women), and Leisure and Hospitality (15,000 jobs gained by women).
In March, women hold more jobs on payrolls (68.1 million) than at their previous employment peak in March 2008 (67.6 million), indicating they have more than recovered all the jobs they lost in the downturn. Men have regained 84 percent (5.1 million) of the jobs they lost between December 2007 (70.8 million) and the trough for men’s employment (64.7 million) in December 2009 (6 million jobs lost). The gap between women’s and men’s employment is 1.6 million jobs in March, substantially less than at the start of the recession (3.2 million jobs in December 2007).
In the last year, from March 2013 to March 2014, of the 2.2 million jobs added to payrolls, half were filled by women (1,113,000 jobs) and half were filled by men (1,133,000 jobs). In this time period, women’s job gains were strongest in Professional and Business Services (343,000 jobs added for women), Education and Health Services (234,000 jobs added for women), Retail Trade (218,000 jobs added for women), and Leisure and Hospitality (206,000 jobs added for women). In the same one year period, however, women lost 4,000 jobs in Financial Activities.
According to the household survey data reported by the BLS, the unemployment rate for women aged 16 and older increased to 6.6 percent in March from 6.4 percent in February. The unemployment rate for men aged 16 and older decreased from 7.0 percent in February to 6.8 percent in March. Among workers aged 20 and older, unemployment is higher among black women and men (11.0 percent and 12.1 percent respectively) and Hispanic women and men (8.4 percent and 6.9 percent respectively) compared to white women and men (5.3 percent for both). Among single mothers (female heads of households), the unemployment rate declined slightly to 9.0 percent in March from 9.1 percent in February, indicating continued difficulty for these women in finding jobs (this series is not seasonally adjusted and can fluctuate due to small sample sizes in the household survey).
The overall labor force participation rate increased to 63.2 percent in March from 63.0 percent in February. Women’s labor force participation rate remained at 57.2 percent in March, or 2.2 percentage points lower than the 59.4 percent rate in December 2007. Men’s labor force participation rate was 69.6 percent in March, or 3.5 percentage points lower than the 73.1 percent rate in December 2007. In a report issued in February 2014, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that about half of the decline in total labor force participation is due to the aging of the U.S. population.
As of March, 10.5 million workers remain unemployed and, of these, 3.7 million (36 percent) have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, usually referred to as the long-term unemployed. As of March, a larger share of black (42 percent of black women and 46 percent of black men) and Asian (48 percent of Asian women and 41 percent of Asian men) unemployed workers have been out of work and looking for 27 weeks and longer, compared with both white (34 percent of women and 33 percent of men) and Hispanic (33 percent of women and 32 percent of men) unemployed workers.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research that illuminates economic and social policy issues affecting women and their families, and to build a network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR's work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies and public policy and public administration programs at The George Washington University.