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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Number of Women Not in Labor Force Hits All-Time Historic High

By Susan Duclos

It has been mentioned, more than once that as the unemployment rate drops slowly, that the reason for the drop is concerning because the decrease is not that more people are working across the United States but because more people are leaving the workforce altogether.

In fact, as of the last report from Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment dropped to 8.1 percent, but 522,000 people left the workforce,  bringing labor force participation to the lowest levels seen since 1981.

Women, according to the numbers for March and April, were one of the hardest hit demographics and the number of the women no longer in the labor force has hit an all-time historical high.

324,000 women dropped out of the nation’s civilian labor force in March and April as the number of women not in the labor force hit an all-time historical high of 53,321,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The civilian labor force consists of all people in the United States 16 years or older who are not in the military, a prison, or another institution such as a nursing home or mental hospital and who either have a job or are unemployed but have actively sought work in the previous four weeks and are currently available to work.

The civilian labor force is a subset of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population, which includes all people in the country 16 or older who are not in the military, a prison, or another institution such as a nursing home or mental hospital.

This year (in both January and April), only 57.6 percent of the women in the civilian noninstitutional population were in the labor force. That is the lowest rate of labor force participation by American women since April 1993, according to historical data maintained by BLS.

In April charts and discussions showed how women have suffered under the Obama economy. (Discussed at Wake up America here)

From that piece:

In March 2012, The Hill reports on a Pew Research study published that same month which shows a numbers of findings regarding the statistics of women in the Obama economy.

• Out of all the groups represented in Pew's survey — including blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians — women are the only group for whom employment growth lagged behind population growth from 2009 to 2011.

• Gains of only 600,000 — from 65.5 million to 66.1 million — for women, compared with 2.6 million for men during those two years, the survey showed.

According to Rakesh Kochhar, a researcher at the Pew Hispanic Center, men faced a larger job gap at the end of the recession "But the jobs gap for men has fallen from 2009 to 2011 even as the gap for women has risen," Kochhar concludes "By this yardstick, the economic recovery has proceeded in opposite directions for men and women."

In March, women accounted for the entire drop in labor force participation, according to the very liberal website Think Progress.

Women will be a significant voting bloc in the 2012 presidential election and Barack Obama has tended to lead among women, with recent reports showing that lead narrowing as these type of numbers become known.

The Politico:

A gender gap still exists, but it appears to be narrowing. Obama leads among women by 7 percentage points, while Romney has the same lead among male voters. But among women younger than 45 , Obama leads 57 percent to 39 percent. Yet Romney leads among women older than 45, 50 percent to 45 percent. The Republican also leads among white women, 57 percent to 38 percent.

Not going to go into the "war on women" rhetoric because there is no way that the suffering for women under the Obama administration and his policies has been deliberate or intentional, but intent aside, the damage is done and it is the policies of the Obama administration that have brought the number of women not in the labor force to the all-time historic highs.

Both sides of the political spectrum can spin, interpret, assign intent or argue against it, but the one thing that cannot be argued are the numbers, offered up by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those numbers speak for themselves.