Economic snapshot | Wages Incomes and Wealth

Women now hold close to half of all jobs

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By Andrea Orr

In 1966, women held about a third of all jobs in this country. In 1978, the share of jobs held by women passed the 40% mark. Today, women are on the verge of surpassing 50% and outnumbering men. The Figure tracks the share of jobs held by women, showing how it has steadily risen over time. In March, women were just shy of a majority, accounting for 49.9% of all jobs.

Although there is clearly a long-term trend of more women working outside the home, the most recent increases nudging women toward 50% also reflect the massive job loss of the recession, which has affected men disproportionately. The jobs crisis has been marked by particularly large numbers of jobs lost in traditionally male professions, such as manufacturing and construction, which has contributed to a significantly higher unemployment rate for men. In March, unemployment stood at 10.7% for men and 8.6% for women. While both men and women have lost jobs, men have lost more. Partly as a result, the percentage of jobs held by women has grown more than a percentage point since the nation began losing jobs in January 2008.

For more information about unemployment rates for men and women, visit EPI’s Economy Track.


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