Employment and Earnings
Whether paid or unpaid, women’s work is crucial for their families’ economic security and well-being. Greater gender equality in paid and unpaid work will reduce poverty and improve economic growth and prosperity; persistent inequity in employment and family work is costing all of us. Women are held back by the undervaluation of historically female work, workplaces designed as if workers had no family responsibilities, and a broken-down work-family infrastructure.
IWPR’s Employment and Earnings program highlights the extent of pay inequalities, and the role played by stark occupational segregation in perpetuating unequal pay. We conduct research and analysis on women’s labor force participation and employment trends; workforce development, non-traditional employment, and apprenticeships; the impact of sex discrimination and harassment on women’s career advancement and mobility; the gender pay gap and pay inequity across race and ethnicity; work-family policies and employer practices; the and the impact of automation and technological advances on women workers.
We work with policymakers, employers, advocates, and practitioners to identify promising practices and policy solutions.
The loss of jobs in sectors dominated by women will have a devastating impact of families, especially those headed by single mothers or where women are the primary or co-breadwinner. One in two of more than 30 million families in the U.S. with children under the age of 18 have a breadwinner mother, who contributes at least 40 percent of the earnings to the household.
The gender wage gap in weekly earnings for full-time workers in the United States narrowed marginally between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.5 percent, leaving a wage gap of 18.5 percent.
Full-time, Year-Round Workers with Projections for Pay Equity, by Race/Ethnicity
Paid adult care work jobs are expected to increase substantially in the coming years, due to both an aging population and a comparatively low risk of automation for many of these jobs. These jobs, however, are among the lowest quality occupations in the U.S. labor market, with paid adult care workers facing low earnings, limited access to benefits, high rates of injury on the job, and scheduling unpredictability.
Economy Adds More Jobs for Women Than Men, But Women Still 8 Million Jobs-on-Payroll Below February and Majority of All Who Lost Jobs
DOWNLOAD REPORT The economy added 4.8 million to non-farm payroll employment, according to the latest U.S. Bureau Employment Situation Release. Yet, while women gained the majority of new job, they continue to lag further behind men in terms of getting back to pre-COVID 19 [...]
In the United States, women now make up more than 50 percent of the workforce, reflecting growth in health care, education, and service sectors over the last decade. The decline of the wages and real earnings of all workers over time coupled with the rise in cost of living expenses, such as housing, means that the income and earnings of women are critical to the overall economic security and wellbeing of families.
Women Gain Disproportionately Fewer Jobs in May, and Face Disproportionately Higher Job Losses since February
DOWNLOAD REPORT As the Economy Starts to Grow Again, Job Growth and Unemployment Continue to Differ Strongly by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity As the economy has started to add jobs again in May, strong gender differences remain. The U.S. Bureau of Labor’s June Employment [...]
In the four weeks since mid-March, 20.5 million jobs were lost, according to new payroll data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this Friday, May 8. Women bore the majority of job losses, 11.3 million (55 percent of the total), compared with 9.2 million jobs lost by men
Employment data released on Friday, April 3 show dramatic job losses and sharp rises in unemployment for both women and men since February. Altogether 701,000 jobs were lost, the majority (58.8 percent or 412,188) by women. While these estimates of job losses are already outdated – since their collection in the second week of March new applications for unemployment reached almost ten times that level–they point to the critical role of gender in understanding the impact of the COVID -19 crisis.
Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 125 occupations.