The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showed that women gained 173,000 jobs in October 2022. 261,000 jobs were added to the economy overall in October, meaning women gained 66.3% of the jobs added last month. This marks 22 months of consecutive job gains for women and means women now hold 294,000 more net jobs now than in February 2020; by comparison, men hold 510,000 more net jobs now than in February 2020.

However, the unemployment rate for women ages 20 and over increased from 3.1% in September to 3.4% in October as many women shifted from being employed to unemployed, despite women’s job gains. Note that BLS’s jobs report data comes from two separate but simultaneously released datasets. Data on jobs added to the economy comes from a survey of businesses, or the Current Employment Survey (CES). Data on unemployment and labor force participation comes from a survey of people, the Current Population Survey (CPS). These surveys complement one another but sometimes tell different stories.

Last month, 9,000 women joined the labor force, meaning they are now either newly working or looking for work. Compared to February 2020, there are still 808,000 fewer women in the labor force. By comparison, 34,000 men left the labor force in October. Despite this loss, there are still 693,000 more men in the labor force now than in February 2020. Women’s labor force participation rate was 58.0% in October, unchanged from September, but is more than one percentage point below women’s pre-pandemic labor force participation rate of 59.3%. Women make up 100% of net labor force leavers ages 20 and over since February 2020.