Wondering how women in the labor force are faring in this tough economy? The US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau recently published statistics about careers for women, based on 2008 data.
The findings show that a record number of women are working, and the DOL projects that women will account for an increase in the labor force for the next few years. It also lists the top careers for women, as judged by the highest weekly earnings.
Encouraging news for women in the work force: The Department of Labor study reports that women accounted for just over half (50.8%) of all workers in high-paying management, professional and related occupations. Considering going back to college? The report shows that the higher a woman’s education level, the less likely it is she’ll be unemployed.
Careers with the Highest Median Weekly Earnings for Women (among full-time wage and salaried workers)
- Pharmicists ($1,647 in median weekly earnings)
- Chief executives ($1,603)
- Lawyers ($1,509)
- Computer software engineers ($1,351)
- Computer and information systems managers ($1,260)
- Physicians and surgeons ($1,230)
- Management analysts ($1,139)
- Human resource managers ($1,137)
- Speech-language pathologists ($1,124)
- Computer scientists and systems analysts ($1,082)
Careers in Which Women Outnumber Men
- registered nurses (91.7% women)
- elementary and middle school teachers (81.2%)
- insurance underwriters (80.3%)
- medical and health services managers (69.4%)
- social and community service managers (68.1%)
- human resource managers (66.3%)
- education administrators (65.1%)
- advertising and promotion managers (62%)
- accountants and auditors (61.1%)
- public relations managers (60.3%)
- budget analysts (57.1%)
- financial managers (54.8%)
- medical scientists (52.3%)
Number of Women in the Work Force
According to the DOL’s research, 59.5% of females age 16 or above were working or looking for work. Women currently comprise just less than half (46.5%) of the work force in the U.S., and of the women who worked, 75% worked full-time, while the remaining 25% worked part-time.
Careers for Women in the Work Force
Of the 68 million women who worked, the types of positions they held are the following:
- 39.5% management, professional or related occupations
- 31% sales and office occupations
- 20.6% service occupations
- 5.9 production, transportation and material moving occupations
- 0.9% natural resources, construction and maintenance
Careers for Women by Race
The largest numbers of Asian and white women worked in management, professional or related occupations. For Latino women, their largest percentage of workers fell in the sales and office occupations, while African-American women saw their largest numbers split between management, professional or related occupations and sales and office occupations.
Unemployment Rates for Women
The unemployment rate for women in 2008 was 5.4%, just under the rate for men, which was 6.1%. Asian women experienced the lowest unemployment rate, followed by white women, Latino women and African-American women.
Weekly Earnings for Women
In 2008, women earned on average 80% of what men earned. The median weekly earnings for women was $638, while men earned $798. However, among adults age 16-24, women earned 91% of what men earned ($420 for women, $461 for men).
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