Posted on May 8, 2015 Issues: Data on Poverty & Income

(Washington, D.C.)  Overall job growth was strong but unemployment rates for Black women and men remained high and women gained just 30 percent of all jobs added, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“The economy bounced back last month, but shared prosperity is still a long way off,” said Joan Entmacher, NWLC’s Vice President for Family Economic Security. “Black women’s unemployment rate declined after several months of increases but stands at a troubling 8.8 percent—above the peak rate for women overall during the recession. Black men’s unemployment rate finally made it out of double digits and is 9.2 percent. Of the 223,000 jobs added last month, only 30 percent went to women. Lawmakers need to take steps to expand opportunities for all.”

Unemployment trends for adult women and men:

  • Overall unemployment rates for adult women and men (20 and older) are similar.
    • The unemployment rate for adult women was flat in April at 4.9 percent, while adult men’s unemployment rate declined to 5.0 percent in April from 5.1 percent in March.
  • The unemployment rates for adult Black women and men decreased in April, though they remained well above the rates of other adults.
    • After rising for three consecutive months, the unemployment rate for adult Black women decreased in April to 8.8 percent, down from 9.2 percent in March. Despite the decline, adult Black women’s unemployment is higher now than the peak of overall adult women’s unemployment during the recession (8.4 percent in November 2010). 
    • The unemployment rates for adult Black men declined to 9.2 percent in April, down from 10.0 percent in March and their lowest rate in nearly seven years, since May 2008.
  • The unemployment rates for adult Hispanic women and men increased in April.
    • The unemployment rate for adult Hispanic women increased for the second month in a row to 6.9 percent in April, up from 6.5 percent in March, and 6.1 percent in February.
    • The unemployment rate for adult Hispanic men increased to 6.0 percent in April, up from 5.8 percent in March.
  • The unemployment rates for adult white women and men were steady in April at 4.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
  • The unemployment rate for single mothers declined to 7.0 percent in April, down from 8.1 percent in March.

Women gained 30 percent of jobs added in April:

  • Women added 68,000 jobs in April, accounting for 30 percent of all job gains (223,000 jobs).
  • Women’s largest gains in April were in private education & health services (+45,000) and professional & business services (+14,000). They lost jobs in several sectors, the largest of which were in retail (-6,100) and information (-5,000).
  • Men added 155,000 jobs in April. Their largest gains were in professional & business services (+48,000), construction (+38,000), retail (+18,200) and private education & health services (+16,000). They experienced losses in mining & logging (-13,000) and wholesale trade (-3,700).

Long-term unemployment remains high:

  • More than 2.5 million people have been looking for work for six months or more.
  • In April, 31 percent of unemployed adult women and 36 percent of unemployed adult men had been searching for a job for six months or more—before the latest recession these rates had not been this high in the more than 60 years these data have been recorded.





Contact: Maria Patrick (, 202-588-5180
               Mia Jacobs (, 202-588-5180 


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