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New Data on Women in the Workforce

New Data on Women in the Workforce

Occupational Outlook Quarterly

May 16, 2008

What’s happening with working women? A brand-new databook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides some answers to that question.

According to the data, the proportion of women in the workforce increased from about 43 percent in 1970 to 59 percent in 2006.

Women’s earnings have also risen relative to men’s: In 1979, full- time female workers made roughly 62 percent of what their male counterparts did-but that ratio had risen to about 81 percent by 2006.

The growth in women’s wages and labor force participation have occurred simultaneously with increased education. In 1970, about 11 percent of women in the labor force had bachelor’s degrees, compared with about 34 percent in 2006.

BLS data also show the occupations in which women work. For example, in 2006, women made up nearly 51 percent of management and professional workers. Women dominated in some of those occupations, making up 95 percent of speech-language pathologists and 83 percent of social workers.

But women were underrepresented in other occupations, such as engineering managers, of which women were only 7 percent of workers.

You can check out the full databook here.

© 2008, Yellowbrix


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