Women take harder hit in weakening job market

As unemployment numbers rise, women and minorities are disproportionally affected, according to a review of August unemployment numbers by a number of think tanks.

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) found the unemployment rate for women jumped from 4.6 percent to 5.3 percent between July and August — a 15 percent increase, the most dramatic one-month increase since 1975.

Meanwhile, jobless claims for men rose from 5.3 percent to 5.6 percent during the same time period — a monthly jump of about one-third the women’s rate.

The overall unemployment rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level since September 2003, with the economy losing another 84,000 jobs in August, according to the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR).

Women are also more pessimistic about their job prospects, according to a recent NWLC poll [PDF]. Go figure.

In fact, nine in 10 (92%) women feel that the nation overall is experiencing challenging or difficult times and 60% characterize their current personal situation as challenging or difficult.

Women are more likely than are men to feel they are falling behind economically, and women are much more likely than are men to be worried and concerned about their economic prospects for the future. Three in five (59%) women, as compared with 46% of men, look ahead to the next five years and say they are more worried and concerned about being able to achieve their economic and financial goals than they are hopeful and confident. Certain to be fueling these concerns are declining incomes. Only 6% of women say that their income is growing faster than the cost of living. A majority (60%) says that their income is actually falling behind the cost
of living, while one-third (33%) says their income is keeping pace with it. Lower-income women (75% falling behind), women with a high school degree or less education (68%), and African-American women (70%) feel particularly vulnerable.

Also according to CEPR:

Black women saw their unemployment rate jump by 1.6 percentage points to 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate for blacks overall rose by 0.9 pp to 10.6 percent. The unemployment rate for Hispanics jumped by 0.6 pp to 8.0 percent, the highest level since reaching 8.1 percent in July of 2003.

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