We’re back this Friday with your monthly analysis on the BLS jobs numbers. September brought some good news, and here is what you need to know:

  1. In September, adult women’s unemployment rate hit a three and a half year low. Last month, adult women’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent – the lowest it’s been since February 2009. Similarly, adult men’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent – the lowest level since November 2008. The declines in unemployment rates from August to September show that we’re continuing to move in the right direction.
  2. Vulnerable groups of women shared in the drop in unemployment this month. While their unemployment rates remain much higher than for women and men overall, adult African American women (10.9 percent), adult Hispanic women (9.8 percent), and single moms (11.3 percent) all saw declines in their unemployment rates this month. These rates are still too high, but it’s good to see a variety of groups of women sharing in the positive change.
  3. Women and men shared equally in September’s job gains. This month women and men each gained 57,000 jobs, but women continue to lag behind men in the recovery overall due to public sector losses. Although women gained a small number of public sector jobs this month, women have lost 383,000 public sector jobs over the recovery – wiping out more than one-third of the more than one million private sector jobs they gained.
    Job change in the recovery
  4. As we near the expiration of federal unemployment insurance benefits in December, long-term unemployment remains high. More than four in ten jobless adult women (43.1 percent) and men (45.2 percent) were unable to find work after looking for six months or longer. This December, federal unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire. These federal benefits provide additional weeks of benefits for some long-term jobless workers and if these benefits are allowed to expire, two million workers will lose vital income that helps them support themselves and their families as they continue to look for work.

This month shows an economy headed towards a real recovery – but there is a long way to go and when Congress returns in November its members must make the choices that will hasten the recovery for men and women – by extending jobless benefits, avoiding cuts to public services, and retaining tax credits that benefit low-income families.