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Women in the Labor Force in 2010

  • Of the 123 million women age 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 58.6 percent, were labor force participants—working or looking for work.

  • Women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force.

  • Women are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018.

  • 66 million women were employed in the U.S.--73 percent of employed women worked on full-time jobs, while 27 percent worked on a part-time basis.

  • The largest percentage of employed women (40.6 percent) worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 32.0 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 21.3 percent in service occupations; 5.2 percent in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and 0.9 percent in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.

  • The largest percentage of employed Asian, white, and black women (46.1 percent , 40.6 percent, and 33.8 percent, respectively) worked in management, professional, and related occupations. Hispanic women showed their strongest attachment to service occupations at 33.2 percent.

  • The unemployment rate for all women was 8.6 percent and for men it was 10.5 percent. Among female race/ethnic groups, Asian women continue to have the lowest unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. For white women, it was 7.7 percent; Hispanic women, 12.3 percent; and black women, 13.8 percent.

  • The median weekly earnings of women who were full-time wage and salary workers were $669, or 81 percent of men’s $824. When comparing the median weekly earnings of persons aged 16 to 24, young women earned 95 percent of what young men earned ($422 and $443, respectively).
  • The 30 occupations with the highest median weekly earnings among women who were full-time wage and salary workers were--

 

  1. Physicians and surgeons, $1,618

  2. Pharmacists, $1,605

  3. Chief executives, $1,598

  4. Lawyers, $1,461

  5. Computer software engineers, $1,445

  6. Computer and information systems managers, $1,415

  7. Physical therapists, $1,208

  8. Speech-language pathologists, $1,184

  9. Computer programmers, $1,177

  10. Human resources managers, $1,170

  11. Management analysts, $1,164

  12. Medical and health services managers, $1,163

  13. Education administrators, $1,137

  14. Physician assistants, $1,129

  15. Occupational therapists, $1,094

  16. Purchasing managers, $1,050

  17. Managers, all other, $1,045

  18. Psychologists, $1,041

  19. Registered nurses, $1,039

  20. Public relations specialists, $1,034

  21. Financial managers, $1,022

  22. Computer scientists and systems analysts, $1,013

  23. Compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety,
                and transportation, $1,013

  24. Post secondary teachers, $1,011

  25. Public relations managers, $1,010

  26. Network systems and data communications analysts, $1,010

  27. Marketing and sales managers, $1,010

  28. Respiratory therapists, $996

  29. General and operations managers, $972

  30. Insurance underwriters, $970


Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January 2011, Annual Averages. Web site: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/empearn201101.pdf

  • Women accounted for 51.5 percent of all workers in the high-paying management, professional, and related occupations. Here is just a sample of these occupations where women were the larger percentage of those employed:

 

Registered nurses………………………………………………………91.1 %

Elementary and middle school teachers………………………81.8

Medical and health services managers…………………………72.5

Psychologists……………………………………………………………66.7

Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents……………66.1

Education administrators……………………………………………63.0

Advertising and promotions managers……………………… 61.1

Accountants and auditors……………………………………… 60.1

Public relations managers………………………………………… 60.0

Insurance underwriters…………………………………………… 59.3

Medical scientists…………………………………………………… 53.7

Financial managers………………………………………………… 53.2

 

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January 2011, Annual Averages. Web site: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/empearn201101.pdf

  • 29.6 percent of women aged 25 and over and 30.4 percent of men had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher; 30.6 percent of women and 31.5 percent of men had completed only high school, no college.


  • The higher a person’s educational attainment, the more likely they will be a labor force participant (working or looking for work) and the less likely they will be unemployed.

 

Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment, and Sex, 2010
(In Percent)
  Less than
H.S. diploma
H.S.
diploma
Some college,
no degree
Bachelor’s degree
or higher
         
Total 14.9% 10.3% 9.2% 4.7%
Women 14.6 9.0 8.7 4.7
Men 15.0 11.3 9.7 4.8

 

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January 2011, Annual Averages.

  • For women age 25 and over with less than a high school diploma, 33.5 percent were labor force participants; high school diploma, no college, 52.4 percent; some college, but no degree, 62.3 percent; associate degree, 70.6 percent; and bachelor’s degree or higher, 72.4 percent.

Sources for all other data: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January, 2010 Annual Averages, Web site http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/empearn201101.pdf and the Monthly Labor Review, November 2009, Web site http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2009/11/art3full.pdf.