October Employment Numbers Good News for Women
Overall, October was a good month for women’s growth in the labor force.
Let’s start with data on women’s employment overall. Of the 250,000 jobs added to the economy in October, nearly two-thirds (62%) went to women. The overall unemployment rate for women did experience a marginal uptick from 3.3% in September to 3.4% in October, but this rate has been hovering steadily around 3.5% for the past few months.
Another promising trend in October was the decrease in unemployment for Black women, which finally dipped below 5% (4.9%) for the first time in months. That’s big progress considering that the unemployment rate for Black women was more than full percentage point higher just three months ago (6.1% in July).
October saw some important wins for women in the labor force; but still, BLS’s numbers showed troubling racial and gender disparities in employment. For instance, white, non-Hispanic men’s unemployment rate (3.0%) was almost two percentage points lower than Black women’s unemployment rate – and that’s after the huge decrease in Black women’s unemployment from last month. So, although we should celebrate women’s growth in the workforce during October, we must keep in mind that we have a long way to go before true equity is achieved.