The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the April employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) establishment survey finds that in March women gained 9,000 jobs and men gained 89,000 jobs for a total of only 98,000 jobs added in March, giving women less than 10 percent of job growth. In the first quarter of 2017 (January through March), men gained 67 percent (358,000 jobs) and women gained 33 percent (175,000 jobs) of all jobs added (533,000 jobs). According to the household survey, the overall unemployment rate decreased from 4.7 in February to 4.5 percent in March.


Job Growth Slows in March and Most Gains Go to Men

In the first quarter of 2017, women’s job gains were strongest in Professional and Business Services (97,000 jobs added), Educational and Health Services (74,000 jobs added), and Government (18,000 jobs added). Over the same time period, men’s job gains were strongest in Construction (91,000 jobs added), Professional and Business Services (54,000 jobs added), Leisure and Hospitality (34,000 jobs added), and Financial Activities (34,000 jobs added). However, women lost jobs in Retail Trade (46,000 jobs lost), Transportation and Warehousing (15,000 jobs lost), and Information (12,000 jobs lost). (Men also lost 3,000 jobs in Information.)

Job Growth Slows in March and Most Gains Go to Men

According to the household survey data reported by the BLS, the overall labor force participation rate remained constant at 63.0 percent from February to March. In March, women 16 and older had a labor force participation rate of 57.1 percent and men 16 and older had a labor force participation rate of 69.2 percent. Unemployment among men 16 and older (4.6 percent) was higher than unemployment among women 16 and older (4.3 percent).


Among workers aged 20 and older, unemployment is substantially higher among black women (6.6 percent) and men (8.2 percent) compared with white women and men (3.5 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively). Hispanic women’s unemployment (4.7 percent) and Hispanic men’s unemployment (4.5 percent) is also higher than white women’s and men’s unemployment. For single mothers (female heads of households), the unemployment rate decreased to 5.5 percent in March from 6.5 percent in February. The unemployment rate for single mothers is not seasonally adjusted and can fluctuate due to small sample sizes in the household survey.


The number of unemployed workers, 7.2 million, decreased slightly in March. The number of long-term unemployed workers (those unemployed for 27 weeks or more) declined to 1.7 million (decreasing 0.5 percentage points from 23.8 percent in February to 23.3 percent of unemployment in March). The number of involuntary part-time workers—those reporting that they work part-time due to unfavorable business conditions or inability to find full-time work—was 5.6 million in March compared with 5.7 million in February.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. The Institute’s research strives to give voice to the needs of women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds across the income spectrum and to ensure that their perspectives enter the public debate on ending discrimination and inequality, improving opportunity, and increasing economic security for women and families. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research and to build a diverse network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR’s work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women’s studies and public policy and public administration programs at The George Washington University.