At BLS we are always trying to refine our products to serve
our customers better. Over the years, we have updated several of our
publications to be more web-friendly and include more interactive features. One
major exception has been news releases. In the past few years we have conducted
a great deal of outreach and investigation with our news release readers to understand
what would make our releases easier to digest and provide greater context to
the data. The outcome of this research is the two news release prototypes we’re
On our beta site, you can find prototypes for the Consumer Price Index and The Employment Situation news releases. We incorporated interactive charts, downloadable excel tables, and a redesigned technical note (now called “About this release”).
We’d love to hear what you think! Please either drop a comment here, or on our beta site, so we can better refine these prototypes for future news releases.
Editor’s note: The following has been cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Labor blog. The writer is Mark DeWolf, an economist in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.
Editor’s note: A text-only version of the graphic is below.
This Women’s History Month, we’re taking a look at women’s contributions to the U.S. labor force. Here are some noteworthy statistics we’ve rounded up!
Women are Integral to Today’s Workforce
- There are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force.
- Almost 47 percent of U.S. workers are women.
- More than 39 percent of women work in occupations where women make up at least three-quarters of the workforce.
- Women own close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts.
- Female veterans tend to continue their service in the labor force: About 3 out of 10 serve their country as government workers.
Editor’s note: A text-only version of the graphic is below.
Working Moms are the Norm
- Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time.
- Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960.
Trends in Women’s Employment Have Evolved over Time
- Women’s participation in the U.S. labor force has climbed since World War II: from 32.7 percent in 1948 to 56.8 percent in 2016.
- The proportion of women with college degrees in the labor force has almost quadrupled since 1970. More than 40 percent of women in the labor force had college degrees in 2016, compared with 11 percent in 1970.
- The range of occupations women workers hold has also expanded, with women making notable gains in professional and managerial occupations. In 2016, more than one in three lawyers was a woman, compared to fewer than 1 in 10 in 1974.
- Despite these gains, women are still underrepresented in STEM occupations, with women’s share of computer workers actually declining since 1990.
- The unemployment rate for women was 4.8 percent in January 2017, down from a peak of 9.0 percent in November 2010. (Source)
Since 1920, the Women’s Bureau has been working to address the challenges and barriers unique to women in the labor force, and data from BLS and other sources plays an important role in helping us understand those challenges. For more of the latest stats on working women, be sure to check out the Women’s Bureau’s data and statistics page. You may also like the BLS report Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2015 and a BLS webpage with links to more data about women.
Women at Work: Percentage of Women’s Representation in Selected Occupations
|HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers
Women in Management Occupations
|Human resources managers
|Social and community service managers
|Food service managers
|Marketing and sales managers
|Computer and information systems managers
This week I want to draw your attention to two important new BLS Reports. One is about the characteristics of minimum wage workers in 2013. Among the 75.9 million U.S. workers age 16 and older in 2013 who were paid at hourly rates, 1.5 million earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.8 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 3.3 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 4.3 percent of all hourly paid workers. This remains well below the figure of 13.4 percent in 1979, when data were first collected on a regular basis. The report is full of interesting information about the characteristics of workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage, including age, gender, race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, level of education, marital status, state of residence, full- and part-time status, occupation, and industry.
Another new BLS Report provides a profile of the working poor in 2012. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 46.5 million people, or 15.0 percent of the nation’s population, lived below the official poverty level in 2012. Although the poor were primarily children and adults who had not participated in the labor force during the year, estimates from BLS show that 10.6 million individuals were among the “working poor” in 2012. The working poor are people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (that is, working or looking for work) but whose incomes still fell below the official poverty level. In 2012, the working-poor rate—the ratio of the working poor to all individuals in the labor force for at least 27 weeks—was 7.1 percent, little different from the previous year’s figure of 7.0 percent. The working-poor rate was still quite a bit higher than the rate of 5.1 percent in both 2006 and 2007, before the onset of the 2007–2009 recession. This report also is full of interesting information about the characteristics of the working poor and their families.
This week, BLS released a report on the labor market situation of our nation’s military veterans in 2013. In 2013, 21.4 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over, were veterans. Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era accounted for nearly half (9.8 million) of the total veteran population in 2013. Over one quarter of veterans (6.1 million) served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another quarter (5.5 million) served outside these wartime periods. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans edged down to 9.0 percent in 2013. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2013, compared with 15 percent of all veterans. Of the disabled Gulf War-era II veterans, 70.5 percent were in the labor force in August 2013, compared with a labor force participation rate of 85.4 percent for veterans from this period with no service-connected disability. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate of those with a disability was 8.6 percent, not statistically different from those with no disability.
Also this week, BLS published a new edition of Spotlight on Statistics that presents a series of graphics on injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers. These public-sector employees experienced a higher incidence rate of work-related injuries and illnesses than their private-industry counterparts. The total rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011 remained highest in local government workplaces, at 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers, compared with 4.6 cases per 100 workers in state government and 3.5 cases in private industry. These differences can be attributed in part to different industry and occupational composition. For example, state and local government workers are more concentrated in healthcare and public safety jobs that have greater risk of work injury or illness. The rate of injuries and illnesses in police protection was 11.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011, and the rate for fire protection was 13.5 cases.
In contrast to the usual BLS focus on paid employment (counting how many people are employed, their pay and benefits, and characteristics of workers and their jobs), this week we have a new BLS report about the important unpaid work that Americans do through volunteer activities. About 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013. The volunteer rate in 2013 was 25.4 percent, the lowest it has been since BLS began collecting comparable statistics about volunteers in 2002. Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities from September 2012 to September 2013. Time spent on volunteer activities was similar for women and men. Among those who volunteered, median annual hours spent on volunteer activities ranged from a low of 36 hours for people 25 to 34 years old to a high of 86 hours for people age 65 and older.
In 2013, the organization for which the volunteer worked the most hours was most frequently religious (33.0 percent of all volunteers), followed by educational or youth service related (25.6 percent) and social or community service organizations (14.7 percent). Among volunteers with children under 18 years old, 44.5 percent of mothers and 38.3 percent of fathers volunteered mainly for an educational or youth service organization, such as a school or scouting group. Volunteers without children under age 18 were more likely than parents to volunteer for other types of organizations, such as social or community service organizations and religious organizations.
The activities that volunteers performed most frequently for their main organization were collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (10.9 percent), fundraising (10.0 percent), and tutoring or teaching (9.8 percent). Men and women tended to engage in different main activities. Men who volunteered were most likely to engage in general labor (11.4 percent) or coach, referee, or supervise sports teams (9.9 percent). Women were most likely to collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food (12.5 percent), fundraise (11.5 percent), or tutor or teach (11.4 percent).
The daily feature The Economics Daily includes some eye-catching interesting graphics on the characteristics of volunteers and their volunteer activities.
In closing, I want to mention that this week we posted a notice about the 2014 Budget Enacted for Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to achieve the necessary savings for this funding level and protect core programs, the BLS will curtail the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and the International Price Program. Through these measures, BLS will be able to preserve the quality of its remaining products.