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Women's Employment During the Recovery

In 2010, women represented 46.7 percent of the United States labor force, a slightly larger share than at the start of the recession in 2007. Overall 71.9 million women were employed or looking for work, representing 58.6 percent of all women aged 16 and over.

As the overall workforce has become more diverse, so have working women. Among women in the labor force, 13.1 percent are black, 4.7 percent are Asian and 12.8 percent are of Hispanic ethnicity. Along all racial groups, men are more likely to be employed than are women, however black women are almost as likely as black men to be employed — a fact that reflects the lower likelihood of black men working compared to other men. The gender gap is widest among Hispanics — as Hispanic men are more likely than other men to be employed, while Hispanic women are less likely than other women to be employed.

Women are nearly twice as likely as men to work part time. In 2010, 26.6 percent of women worked part time compared to just 13.4 percent of men. More women are currently working part-time than were doing so prior to the recession, reflecting the increase in women working part-time because they can't find full-time work. One in five women working part-time are doing so because they can't find full-time work. Prior to the recession, less than one in ten women working part-time were doing so because they couldn't find full-time work.

Women are nearly 50 percent more likely to work in the public sector than are men with 18.2 percent of employed women working in public sector jobs. Despite this high concentration in a heavily unionized sector — 36.2 percent of those working in the public sector are members of unions compared to 6.9 percent of those in the private sector — women are less likely to belong to a union than are men. In 2010, 11.1 percent of women were union members, compared to 12.6 percent of men.1

Women are less likely to be self-employed, only 5.5 percent, compared to 8.3 percent of men.2 However, women-owned businesses are growing rapidly. According to the most recent Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (2007), the number of women-owned businesses grew by 20.1 percent between 2002 and 2007, compared to 5.5 percent for men-owned firms. In 2007, the Census counted 7.8 million women-owned business, representing 28.7 percent of all nonfarm businesses in the US.

Women surpass men in educational attainment. Among the employed ages 25 and over, 37.1 percent of women have at least a bachelor's degree compared to 34.9 percent of men. Because women are less likely than men to be in the workforce, female college graduates are still outnumbered by male college graduates in the labor force. However, women with a bachelor's degree outnumber men by 1.6 million in the population as a whole and women are a growing share of college graduates. As such, women college graduates are likely to outnumber male college graduates in the labor force in the near future.

Half of all women working as full-time wage and salary workers earned $669 or more per week in 2010. This median weekly wage was 81.2 percent of that earned by men. Asian women earned the most among women in 2010 — with half of all Asian women earning $778 or more. Hispanic women earned the least, with half of all Hispanic women earning $508 or more per week (and thus half earning less).

The unemployment rate averaged 8.6 percent among women in 2010. Data for March 2011 shows that the economic situation is improving for women, who have seen their unemployment rate decline to 8.3 percent. However, while the private sector has added 1.7 million jobs over the past 12 months, the public sector has lost nearly 400,000. Since women are disproportionately likely to work in the public sector, their unemployment decline has been smaller than that experienced by men. The unemployment rate for men averaged 10.5 percent in 2010 and has declined to 9.3 percent in March 2011. However women continue to have a lower unemployment rate than men, are less likely to be long-term unemployed, and have a median duration of unemployment that was 1.9 weeks shorter than men's in 2010.

Table 1: Unemployment, employment, and earnings characteristics by sex, race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2010 annual averages

Characteristics of the employed



% Employed (employment -population ratio among those 16 and older)















% College graduates (age 25 and over)



% Usually working part time



% Working in the private sector (wage and salary workers)



% Working in the public sector



% Self-employed (unincorporated)



Weekly earnings
















Characteristics of the unemployed

Unemployment rate, total















Median duration of unemployment in weeks



% Long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more)



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey
: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Those identified as White, Black or Asian include those Hispanics who selected White, Black or Asian when queried about their race.

Unemployment and Labor Force Participation

The overall unemployment rate peaked after the end of this most recent recession at 10.1 percent in October 2009, coinciding with the peak for men of 11.4 percent. At that point, women's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent. While men's unemployment declined through much of 2010, the unemployment rate among women fluctuated for several months before it reached a high of 8.9 percent in November 2010 (see Chart 1).

Chart 1: Unemployment rate for Men and Women
(Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Chart 1: Unemployment rate for Men and Women (Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

Chart 1: Text only

Since reaching a peak in November 2010, female unemployment has declined 0.6 percentage point as of March 2011. This decline is only half that experienced by men (1.2 percent) over the same time period. Part of the reason that women have not fared as well as men during the recovery period may be their disproportionate representation in industries that continue to experience job losses, such as state and local government.

Young women's (ages 16 to 19) unemployment reached a high of 24.8 percent in October 2010 and had declined to 22.7 percent as of March 2011 (see Chart 2).

Chart 2: Unemployment rate for Adult and Young Women
(Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Chart 2: Unemployment rate for Adult and Young Women (Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

Chart 2: Text only

Not only has the unemployment rate remained high for female teens, but a large number are no longer in the labor force — either working or looking for work. In 2007, female teens participated in the labor force at a rate of 41.5 percent. By 2010, that rate had declined substantially to 35.0 percent. Some of this decline in labor force participation among teens reflects an increase in the percent of teens in school. Among 16-19 year old women, 85.8 percent were students in October 2010 compared to 82.0 percent in October 2007, two months before the recession started. However, fewer female teens are working while in school (22.9 percent in October 2010, down from 30.9 percent in October 2007).3

Among young women — those ages 20 to 24 — labor force participation has fallen since the recession started from 70.1 percent in 2007 to 68.3 percent in 2010. As with younger women, there has been an increase in the percent in school, 40.8 percent of 20 to 24 year old women were students in October 2010 compared to 38.8 percent in October 2007. However, the increase was smaller than that for similarly aged men: 36.7 percent were in school in October 2010 compared to 33.0 percent in October 2007. Thus over the recessionary period the gap between the percent of 20 to 24 year old women and men in school narrowed slightly.

Adult women have had little change in their labor force participation during the recession, while adult male labor force participation has declined. Labor force participation from 2007 to 2010 for women ages 25 to 54 was essentially unchanged (75.4 percent in 2007 to 75.2 percent in 2010), while the rate rose (33.2 percent in 2007 to 35.1 percent in 2010) for those ages 55 and over. Male labor force participation edged down slightly since the start of the recession for those ages 25 to 54 (90.9 percent in 2007 compared with 89.3 percent in 2010) while the rate for those ages 55 and over rose (45.2 percent in 2007 compared with 46.4 percent in 2010).

Unemployment within families has increased in the years since the recession began.4 In 2010, 12.4 percent of families had at least one unemployed member, nearly doubling the 6.3 percent rate experienced in 2007. In 2010, 58.1% of married couple families with children had both parents working, while only one parent was working in 37.6%. In 2010, the wife was the sole employed member of the family in 19.6 percent of these cases, up from 13.9 percent in 2007.

Unemployment rates are lower for women with more education. In 2010, the unemployment rate of women with at least a bachelor's degree was 4.7 percent, nearly the same as the male rate of 4.8 percent. Women with no high school diploma have the highest unemployment rate, 14.6 percent. While women's unemployment rates are lower than men's at all education levels, the largest difference is among those with just a high school diploma (see Chart 3).

Chart 3: Unemployment rate for Men and Women, by Educational Attainment,
(2010 annual average, ages 25 years and older)

Chart 3: Unemployment rate for Men and Women, by Educational Attainment, (2010 annual average, ages 25 years and older)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

Chart 3: Text only

Unemployment varies across the US and the unemployment rate of women, like that of other groups in America, differs depending on the state in which they live. In 2010, women facing the highest unemployment rates lived in Nevada (12.7 percent unemployment), California (11.3 percent), Rhode Island (10.5 percent), Michigan (9.9 percent), Florida (9.7 percent), Indiana (9.7 percent), and Oregon (9.7 percent), while those facing the lowest rates lived in North Dakota (3.5 percent), South Dakota (4.2 percent), Nebraska (4.4 percent), New Hampshire (5.1 percent), and Vermont (5.2 percent). The supplemental map at the end of this report shows both the unemployment rate for women by state and the overall numbers of unemployed women in each state.

Employment Data

The employment-population ratio shown on Chart 4 represents the proportion of the population 16 years and older that are employed. The percent employed has declined since the start of the recession, but the decline has been smaller among women. Between January 2007 and March 2011, the share of women who were employed declined 3.3 percentage points while men's declined 6.4 percentage points. In 2010, the percent of men employed stabilized while the percent of women employed continued to trend downward. As of March 2011, 53.5 percent of women ages 16 and over and 63.9 of men were employed.

Chart 4: Employment-Population Ratio for Men and Women
(Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Chart 4: Employment-Population Ratio for Men and Women (Seasonally adjusted, monthly data, ages 16 and older, Jan 2007 - Mar 2011)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

Chart 4: Text only

Participation of women in the labor force increased sharply during the 1970s and 1980s but reached a plateau beginning in 2000, when labor force participation hovered between 59 and 60 percent. In 2010, women were 46.7 percent of all workers in the labor force. This proportion is not expected to change by 2018, reflecting the small gains in female labor force participation in the last decade, as well as demographic trends. Women age 55 and over have lower participation rates than similarly aged men and than younger women. Another factor is that Hispanics will account for a higher share of the US population in 2018, and Hispanic women have a lower labor force participation rate than other women.

As you can see in chart 5, of the three major racial/ethnic groups, black women have the highest, and Hispanic women the lowest, labor force participation rate. In recent years the higher unemployment rates of Black women have meant that they were actually less likely than white women to be employed, despite their higher labor force participation rate.

Chart 5: Labor Force Participation rate of Women, by race and ethnicity
(Annual averages, 1975-2010, ages 16 and older)

Chart 5: Labor Force Participation rate of Women, by race and ethnicity (Annual averages, 1975-2010, ages 16 and older)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

Chart 5: Text only

Employment for women declined most significantly in manufacturing, financial activities, and retail trade during the recession of 2007-2009. Together, these industries accounted for nearly 1.8 million jobs lost among female workers. Job losses continued for women through 2010 in manufacturing and financial activities, while women gained jobs in retail trade.

In 2010, women were underrepresented in some industries that are expected to grow in the near future. As table 2 shows, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that professional, scientific and technical services will grow by 3.0 percent annually or by a total of 2.6 million people by 2018 compared to 2008. In 2010, 43.2 percent of jobs in this industry were held by women, making them somewhat underrepresented in this high-growth industry. Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) occupations — accounting for 46.5 percent or less of jobs — such as life, physical, and social science occupations (46.5 percent), computer and mathematical occupations (25.8 percent), and architecture and engineering occupations (12.9 percent).

Women are well represented in other growth industries such as education services (which is expected to grow 2.4 percent annually through 2018) as well as in health and education services (which is expected to grow 2.3 percent annually through 2018).

Table 2: Industries with largest expected employment growth and the representation of women in these industries, BLS Employment Projections 2008-2018 and Current Population Survey 2010 annual averages


Annual average rate of change 2008-20181

Women as a percent of total employed by industry in 20102

Professional and technical services



Education services



Health and social services






*Construction and extraction occupations



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
1Employment Projections presented here are based on Current Employment Statistics data. The projections are found at Released December 11, 2009.
2These data are 2010 annual averages from the Current Population Survey.

On average women earn less than men, but this effect grows over time for women. As men gain experience in the labor force their wage gains typically exceed those experienced by women. Taking the wage gaps by age in 2010, if these were the gaps that all cohorts of women faced at each age, then by age 25 a woman working full-time, full-year will have earned $6000 less than a man working full-time full-year. By age 35, a woman who experiences the typical gap at each age in 2010 has earned $28,000 less than a man earning median earnings at every age. By age 65 the earnings gap has ballooned to $379,000.5

Chart 6: Cumulative Lost Earnings by Full-Time Working Women in Fourth Quarter of 2010

Chart 6: Cumulative Lost Earnings by Full-Time Working Women in Fourth Quarter of 2010

Source: Department of Labor, Office of the Chief Economist analysis of BLS’ Current Population Survey

Chart 6: Text only

Employment and Unemployment of Working Mothers

In 2010, there were 23.2 million working moms, down from 25.2 million in 2007.6 The number of working moms had been rising from 2004 to 2007, but then declined during the recession and the year that followed it. In 2004, 66.5 percent of moms worked and 67.8 percent did in 2007, but only 64.4 percent were employed in 2010.

Mothers with young children are less likely to work than those with older children. In 2010, 57.0 percent of moms with a child under 6 years old worked; 71 percent of these moms held a full-time job. Among moms with kids ages 6 to 17 in the home (but none younger than 6), 70.5 percent worked, about three quarters of whom were employed full-time.

While the unemployment rate among women is lower than that among men, that is not the case among parents. In 2007, the unemployment rate for moms was 4.6 percent compared to only 2.8 percent for dads. Unemployment rose among both moms and dads in the ensuing years and in 2010 9.0 percent of moms and 7.5 percent of dads were unemployed. Women without children under 18 had a 4.4 percent unemployment rate in 2007 (compared to 5.7 percent for men) and in 2010 the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent (compared to 12.0 percent for men).

Moms with children under 6 years old continue to face higher unemployment rates (10.8 percent in 2010) than do moms with children aged 6 to 17 years old (7.8 percent in 2010). Unemployment among parents is lower among both married moms and dads and rose less through the recent downturn, compared to their unmarried counterparts.7 In 2010, unmarried custodial mothers had an unemployment rate of 14.6 percent, up from 8.0 percent in 2007. Unmarried custodial fathers had an unemployment rate of 15.7 percent in 2010, up from 6.2 percent in 2007. Married mothers faced a 6.3 percent unemployment rate in 2010, up from 3.0 percent in 2007; while the rate for married fathers was 6.8% in 2010, up from 2.5 percent in 2007.

Working moms (37.2 percent) and women without children (37.0 percent) are almost equally likely to have bachelor's degrees and both have higher education attainment than men. Among employed men, dads are more likely to have at least a bachelor's degree (36.7 percent) than men without children under 18 in the home (33.9 percent).8

As table 3 shows, moms in 2010 accounted for 19.4 percent of those who worked in management, professional, and related occupations (compared to dads, who accounted for 18.3 percent). This broad occupation includes teachers and health care practitioners. Approximately 20.5 percent of workers in sales and office occupations were moms (compared to 11.0 percent who were dads). Moms made up 19.8 percent of service occupations (compared to 11.3 percent of dads).

Table 3. Employed persons by occupation, sex and presence of children under 18 years old, 2010 annual averages

Moms (Women with own children under 18 years old)

Dads (Men with own children under 18 years old)

Among total employed, 16 and older



Sales and office occupations



Service occupations



Management, professional and related occupations



Production, transportation and material moving occupations



Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations



Source: Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics

In terms of pay, full-time working moms earned $667 per week compared to $920 for dads in 2010.9 This earnings gap of 72.5 percent in 2010 has narrowed from 69.2 percent in 2007 at the start of the recession. In contrast, the gender earnings gap among non-parents was 87 percent in 2010.

In 2010, the earnings gap at 84 percent was smallest among black moms and black dads, and was 83 percent between Hispanic parents. The earnings gap was the largest at 73 percent between white moms and dads and also 73 percent between Asian moms and dads.

In 2010, Asian moms had the highest median weekly earnings with half bringing home $824 or more, compared to white moms ($684), black moms ($582), and Hispanic moms ($495).

Table 4: Usual weekly earnings of full time wage and salary workers by sex and presence of own children under 18 years old



Own children under 18 years old

No own children under 18 years old









Ratio of women's to men's earnings




Source: Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 annual averages

Occupational Safety and Health

According to preliminary data for 2009, a total of 319 women died on the job, compared with a total of 4,021 for men. Transportation incidents — including motor vehicle, air, rail, and water transportation — caused the highest percentage of fatal work injuries to women (43 percent). The second highest percentage of fatal occupational injuries to women, 30 percent, resulted from assaults and violent acts — including violence by other persons, self-inflicted injuries, and attacks by animals. Compared with men, a lower percentage of fatal work injuries to women resulted from contact with objects and equipment, falls, and exposure to harmful substances and environments.

As with death on the job, women experience fewer occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work than men. However, the gender gap in days-away-from-work occupational injuries and illnesses (61% men and 39% women in 2009) is much smaller than the gap in deaths (93% men and 7% women in 2009). In 2009 there were 102 injuries to women on the job per 10,000 full-time female workers and 129 injuries to men per 10,000 male full-time workers. Nevertheless, women experience more injuries and illnesses than men in some high rate occupations. Among all workers, bus drivers (transit and intercity) had the highest incidence rate at 736 cases per 10,000 full-time workers; 55 percent of the injuries and illnesses in this occupation category were incurred by women. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants had an incidence rate of 456, nearly four times the rate for all workers. Over ninety percent of the injuries and illnesses in this occupation occurred to women in 2009. Five major occupation groups accounted for 55 percent of injuries and illnesses to women requiring days away from work to recuperate: healthcare support; office and administrative support; healthcare practitioner and technical occupations; food preparation and serving related occupations; and sales and related occupations.

Looking Forward

  • Working Together – White House National Equal Pay Enforcement Taskforce: By establishing a collaborative effort among the Labor Department, the Department of Justice, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Administration will ensure strategic enforcement of pay discrimination cases and take steps to reduce the persistent pay gap between men and women. The taskforce is working to improve data collection and interagency coordination and enforcement efforts. The task force is also establishing a campaign to educate employers on their obligations and employees on their rights, and ensuring that the federal government is a model employer. In December 2010, the Women's Bureau hosted an Equal Pay Research Summit, bringing together some of the foremost experts to discuss the best approaches to data collection so as to better understand the scope of the pay gap and improve enforcement efforts.
  • Enforcing Equal Opportunity and Pay: The Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces Executive Order 11246, which establishes a federal-wide requirement of equal opportunity in employment by federal contractors and subcontractors. OFCCP has hired nearly 200 new compliance officers to increase its ability to investigate and resolve cases and has also prioritized compensation cases for enforcement in Fiscal Year 2011. Through rulemaking, OFCCP will seek input on how to develop a compensation data collection tool which can be used to identify and root out wage-based discrimination. The Department's Wage and Hour Division is also ensuring that workers receive the wages they are legally owed through targeted enforcement initiatives in industries where violations of federal labor laws most often occur, such as health care, restaurants, hotel/motel, agriculture, day care, garment manufacturing, guard services and temporary help; industries were many women are employed.
  • Advancing Women in Non Traditional Occupations: In 2010, the Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service and the Women's Bureau partnered to award $1.8 million in grants to support training opportunities and career support for women veterans to succeed in non-traditional occupations in growing sectors of the economy. Over 26 grants were awarded in 14 states and the District of Columbia for job training, counseling, and placement services (including job readiness, and literacy and skills training) to expedite the reintegration of homeless female veterans and veterans with families into the labor force. The Employment and Training Administration's Office of Apprenticeship and the Women's Bureau jointly administer the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program that promotes the recruitment, training, employment and retention of women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations. In June and July 2010, six grantees were awarded WANTO grants totaling nearly $2 million dollars.
  • Work-life Balance and Workplace Flexibility: The Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is enforcing the new break time for nursing mothers' law, ensuring women who choose to breastfeed their infants have the ability to continue to do so after they return to work. This new law took effect when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010. It requires employers to provide employees who are nursing mothers reasonable break time and a place — other than a bathroom — that is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers and the public, to express breast milk while at work. WHD is working expeditiously to ensure both nursing moms and employers have the guidance they need to invoke their rights and comply with the law respectively. This new law will undoubtedly help nursing moms achieve balance between their jobs and caring for their children, and help employers retain good workers.

    WHD has also taken steps to ensure more workers can take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by issuing an Administrator Interpretation clarifying the definition of "in loco parentis," so that employees who assume the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship. To better inform our interpretative guidance, enforcement policies, and ensure FMLA is better and more effectively utilized, the Department is also interested in learning how FMLA has worked from the perspectives of both employees and employers. Therefore, we soon will initiate a survey inviting employers and employees to provide input on their experiences with the FMLA. A new supplement to the BLS American Time Use Survey, sponsored by the Women's Bureau, will also provide new data on a wide diversity of workers' access to, and use of, leave.

    In addition, the Labor Department's Women's Bureau is hosting a National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility in over ten cities across the country which is built on the message and momentum from the March 2010 White House Flexibility Forum. The dialogues include participants from the business community, advocates, researchers, union leaders, government agencies, and employees. The Dialogue will raise awareness and share information on the impact of workplace flexibility, expand the knowledge base and support of flexibility; and stimulate dialogue among employers and business owners on making flexibility work.
  • Employment and Training Services for Women: The workforce investment system provides important employment, educational and training services to help individuals, including women, find good jobs and move along a career pathway. The number of female participants receiving services through the various workforce programs has increased in the last few years by over 40 percent, to over 15.7 million

    Approximately 45 percent of participants who exited the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker programs in the most recent program year, ending June 30, 2010, were women. Approximately 55 percent of the individuals exiting the WIA Youth program and 42% exiting the Job Corps program were women and girls. WIA female exiters show a broader spectrum of racial and ethnic diversity compared to men: more women than men are either Hispanic, Asian, Black or African American. More women receive WIA training services compared to men (122,266 women versus 113,017 men according to the most recent WIA data). WIA women exiters tend to enter training more often than men (14 percent of women compared to 8.9 percent of men), and also stay in training longer (19.5 percent of female trainees are enrolled longer than one year, while this is true for only 8.5 percent of male trainees). As far as outcomes, females in each of the WIA programs (adults, dislocated workers, and youth) do as well, if not slightly better in finding and keeping jobs (entered employment and employment retention).

    In addition, The Women's Bureau will soon release the Trauma Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Guide. The guide was developed to ensure that trainers and service provides who serve women veterans with multiple traumas have a deeper understanding of the unique trauma experiences and needs of female veterans.
  • Training Women for Jobs in a Clean Energy Economy: Ensuring women are trained to succeed in a clean energy economy is critical to ensuring opportunities are available in industries that are growing and have good jobs. Training for women and other under-served job seekers is being funded by the Department's "Pathways Out of Poverty" grants. These grants are providing $150 million to support programs that help disadvantaged populations find ways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency. A number of these grantees have succeeded in recruiting women participants (23 percent on average as of September 2010), while focusing on green industries, especially construction, energy, and transportation, which have historically employed fewer women. On Earth Day 2009, Secretary Solis held a roundtable with White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley to discuss the opportunities for women in the clean energy economy. The Women's Bureau hosted a series of seven teleconferences for workforce practitioners, designed to offer information and an exchange of ideas to better connect women with green jobs training and funder nine projects to explore ways to increase women's participation in green training programs. In 2011, the Women's Bureau will publish an online guide, Why Green is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career.
  • Strengthening the Safety Net for the Unemployed: The Recovery Act provided incentives for states to update antiquated unemployment laws to make unemployment assistance available to more American workers. These updates encouraged states to provide unemployment insurance benefits to those seeking part-time work (who are disproportionately women), and to workers who leave their jobs to care for a sick or disabled loved one, or to escape a violent domestic relationship. Because of the modernization efforts in the Recovery Act, an estimated 200,000 unemployed Americans received benefits they would not otherwise have received.

Female Unemployment by State — 2010 Annual Averages

Chart 7: Female Unemployment by State — 2010 Annual Averages

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, preliminary 2010 annual average data.

Chart 7: Text only


1Union membership refers to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union. However, some workers are represented by unions despite not belonging to a union themselves. In 2010, 12.4 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men were either union or employee association members or workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract.
2Self-employed refer to self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated.
3October data are used here because that is the month when students are usually enrolled in school regardless of the type of school or school calendar.
4A family is a group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. The count of families is for “primary” families only, that is, the householder and all others persons related to and residing with the householder. Families are classified either as married-couple families or as families maintained by women or men without their spouses.
5This chart uses the usual weekly earnings of a wage and salary workers as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cumulative lost earnings compares the difference in earnings for the median earner working fifty-two weeks out of the year over the five- or ten-year age range shown.
6“Moms” and “dads” refer to women and men with their own children under 18 years old. Own children include sons, daughters, step-children, and adopted children. Not included are nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other related and unrelated children. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
7Includes never married; married, spouse absent; separated; and widowed persons.
8Data by education refer to people age 25 and over.
9Earnings are usual median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers. Full time means usually worked 35 hours or more per week.