Unemployment down but caregiving and equity needs remain | #JobsDay January 2023

Katherine Gallagher Robbins

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases important data about the nation's labor market, including statistics like the unemployment rate for Latinas and changes in the number of jobs in the child care sector. The National Partnership for Women & Families does a deep dive into the data to examine how women, especially women of color and those with disabilities are faring.

The most recent #JobsDay data show the strength of the economy in 2022:

  • Adult women (ages 20 and older) had an annual average unemployment rate of 3.3%, which is tied for the lowest rate since 1953.
  • Annual average unemployment for adult Latinas in 2022 (4.1%) is tied for the lowest rate ever recorded (since 1973)
  • Annual average unemployment for adult Black women are tied for the second-lowest rate (5.6%) ever (since 1972)
  • Annual average unemployment for adult Asian women have the second-lowest rate (2.6%) ever (since 2000)

But the data also show that labor force participation remains below pre-pandemic levels for many groups of women, with Black women and Latinas suffering the largest declines between February 2020 and December 2022 of 1.9 and 1.8 percentage points, respectively.

The combination of historically low unemployment but lagging labor force participation signals that workers able to join the job market are doing well – but too many still face high barriers to looking for work, making it all the more critical to ensure workers have the caregiving supports they need to be part of the labor market.

Policymakers must invest in paid leave, child care and home- & community-based services to support caregivers and the economy. As Sharita Gruberg notes, states will play a big role.

Read my full analysis of today's #JobsDay numbers on Twitter:

Click to open the full tweet thread in a new window.

 

The author is grateful to Areeba Haider and Jessica Mason for their support of this analysis.

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