By: Morgan Harwood, Research & Policy FellowPosted on June 7, 2019 Issues: Workplace

A group of young women standing together against a gray wall outside

May was a big month for women workers, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly employment report. Although job growth stalled – the economy added just 75,000 jobs compared to the 151,000 average over the past three months – and all of the jobs added to the economy went to women.

Really, all jobs went to women? That’s right!

Let’s break down the numbers: women netted a gain of 85,000 jobs in May while men lost a net 10,000 jobs. This results in an overall gain of 75,000 jobs in the economy. And what’s more: the number of women who were looking for a job in May increased by 8% since April. Hopefully, this means the trend will continue and we will see more upticks in number of jobs going to women this summer. However, a friendly reminder that women don’t need just any old jobs – they need good ones.

May also saw employment gains for Black women and women with disabilities. The unemployment rate for Black women continued to decrease from 5.3% in April to 5.1% in May. Since December, this rate has decreased by nearly 16%. The unemployment rate for women with disabilities jumped down considerably from 7.1% in April to 5.6% to May. This decrease is right on track since the unemployment rate for women with disabilities has been in steady decline for all of 2019, jumping down by nearly 68% since January.

Although May saw some great gains for women’s employment, the gains didn’t extend to every group of women. For instance, even though all new jobs added to the economy went to women, the overall unemployment rate for women edged up from 3.1% in April to 3.2% in May. Further, the unemployment rate for Latina women saw an 11% increase, from 3.7% in April to 4.1% in May, after a 19% decrease from March to April.

So, based on BLS’s numbers, we should celebrate May’s gains for women workers while continuing to keep a closely watch on unemployment and the types of jobs women are gaining.

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