Posted on September 5, 2014

(Washington, D.C.)  Adult African American women are the only group whose unemployment rate has not improved in the last year, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“The slowdown in job growth isn’t the only red flag in today’s employment data,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security.  While unemployment rates for all other groups of workers are lower than a year ago, the unemployment rate for African American women has not improved over the past year, and stands at 10.6 percent. Lawmakers must act to promote a stronger—and more widely shared—recovery.”

Adult African American women’s unemployment rate is the same as a year ago.  They are the only group whose rate has not declined.  Between August 2013-August 2014:

  • The overall unemployment rate decreased 1.1 percentage points.
  • Unemployment rates for men declined sharply over the last year. 
    • Adult men’s (20 and older) overall unemployment and adult white men’s unemployment both declined by 1.3 percentage points.
    • Adult Hispanic and African American men saw declines of 2.0 percentage points or more, though their rates remain higher than men’s overall. 
  • Unemployment rates declined for most groups of women.
    • Adult women overall, adult white women and adult Hispanic women all saw declines of about half a percentage point. 
    • Single mothers saw a larger decrease of 1.7 percentage points.
    • Adult African American women were the only group whose unemployment rate saw no net change over the last year.  It was 10.6 percent in August 2014, the same rate it was in August 2013.  Their rate is now similar to that of adult African American men.

 In the last month, unemployment rates were stable overall but rose for some vulnerable groups:

  • The overall unemployment rate in August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July.
  • Adult women’s and men’s unemployment rates in August were both 5.7 percent, and both were unchanged since July.
  • Unemployment rates declined in August from July for adult white women, adult African American men, and adult Hispanic men.
  • Unemployment rates rose in August for adult African American women, adult Hispanic women and single mothers. The rate also rose for adult white men.

Women accounted for two-thirds of the jobs added in August, but fewer than half of the jobs added over the last year:

  • In August women added 91,000 jobs, accounting for 64.1 percent of the 142,000 jobs added.
  • Women’s largest gains were in professional and business (+28,000), private education and health services (+23,000), and manufacturing (+17,000).  Largest losses were in other services (-5,000) and transportation and warehousing (-2,900).
  • Men’s largest gains were in professional and business services (+19,000), construction (+16,000), private education and health (+14,000), and other services (+13,000).  Largest losses were in manufacturing (-17,000), information (-9,000), and retail (-7,300).
  • Over the last year (August 2013-August 2014) women added 1,073,000 jobs, accounting for 43.2 percent of 2,482,000 jobs added. 




    Contact: Maria Patrick (, 202-588-5180

                    Mia Jacobs (, 202-588-5180