Women's Unemployment Lower Than Men's

Over 350,000 Jobs Added In January, As U.S. Labor Market Remains Strong
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24/7 Insights

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released unemployment numbers for May.
  • One notable statistic is that unemployment for adult women was lower than for adult men.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released unemployment numbers for May. The economy added 272,000 jobs, which was better than expected. The unemployment rate was 4.0%. Looking across race and gender numbers, one notable statistic is that unemployment for adult women was lower than for adult men.

The BLS describes the methodology as “… statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.”

The regular reports about the monthly unemployment rate are about the total number for the month. It is a measure of the health of the economy. For organizations like the Federal Reserve, it is a signal of possible inflation and a possibility of a recession. Based on May, recession is not much of a worry.

The Demographics

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The lowest unemployment rate among segments of the economy was among Asians, at 3.1%. This was followed by adult women, at 3.4%, 3.5% among whites, 3.8% among adult men, 5.0% among Hispanics, 6.1% among Blacks, and 12.3% among teenagers.

Two reasons are often given for the joblessness rate among men and women. One is that more women who did not work for several years have rejoined the workforce. This is sometimes because households need additional income. It is a guess, but high inflation could cause some of that.

The second is that men are likely to work in job categories that can be hurt in downturns. While many sectors the government covers in the monthly numbers may have added jobs, several, including construction, added none. Home building, in particular, has been slow recently.

Based on the probable reasons for the difference, it may not soon reverse.

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