(Washington, D.C.)  Women experienced the strongest one-month public sector job growth in years in September, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“Women gained 48,000 jobs in the public sector last month – the largest one-month public sector gain for women since May 2010 – but September’s data show that unemployment remains painfully high and overall job growth remains slow,” said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst for Family Economic Security. “Policymakers who shut down the government in October foolishly cost the economy an estimated $24 billion and additional automatic spending cuts known as sequestration are on the horizon.  Now policymakers have a chance to craft a budget that ends sequestration, invests in job creation, and protects programs women and their families depend on.  Millions of hard-working women and families are counting on them.”

Monthly Change in Jobs  (August 2013  – September 2013)


Change in Total Jobs

Change in Private Sector Jobs

Change in Public Sector Jobs


↑ 76,000

↑ 28,000

↑ 48,000


↑ 72,000

↑ 98,000

↓ 26,000


↑ 148,000

↑ 126,000

↑ 22,000

Source: Current Employment Statistic survey                                                

Women’s largest jobs gains were in the public sector (+48,000), professional and business services (+19,000), which includes the low-wage temporary help sector, and transportation and warehousing (+8,200). Women’s largest losses were in leisure and hospitality (-22,000).

Men’s largest gains were in construction (+17,000), transportation and warehousing (+15,200) and retail (+13,800).  Men’s largest losses were in the public sector (-26,000).

Monthly Change in Unemployment Rates (August 2013  – September 2013)


August 2013

September 2013


Adult Women (20+)

6.3 percent

6.2 percent

↓ 0.1 percentage point

Adult Men (20+)

7.1 percent

7.1 percent


Overall (16+)

7.3 percent

7.2 percent

↓ 0.1 percentage point

Source: Current Population Survey                                                               

The unemployment rate for adult women declined to 6.2 percent in September, the lowest rate since December 2008 – but is still nearly two percentage points higher than at the start of the recession in December 2007. 

Unemployment rates for many vulnerable groups declined between August and September: adult African-American women (10.0 percent in September, down from 10.6 percent in August), adult Hispanic women (8.1 percent in September, down from 8.7 percent in August), adult Hispanic men (7.4 percent in September, down from 7.9 percent in August), and single mothers (8.8 percent in September, down from 11.0 percent in August).  The rate for adult African-American men increased to 14.0 percent from 13.5 percent.  The rates for these groups are about one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half times higher than at the start of the recession.

Just 148,000 jobs were added in September, and at this pace, it will take until 2022 to close the jobs gap (defined as the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month), according to estimates by the Hamilton Project. Canceling sequestration could have a substantial and positive impact on job growth; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that canceling sequestration would increase employment a year from now by 900,000 new jobs.