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Employed women dropping out of labor force

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011
In last week's jobs report coverage, Catherine Rampell of the New York Time's Economix blog noted that the unemployment rate fell partly because 325,000 people dropped out of the labor force — that is, they were not even looking for work. Her closer analysis reveals that the entirety of that decline was due to the departure of women — and particularly employed women — from the labor force.

In the month of November, the number of men in the labor force (working or actively looking) rose by about 23,000. By contrast, the number of women in the labor force fell by 339,000. (The numbers do not add to a 325,000 net loss because of rounding.)

Even more peculiar is what these lost female workers did before they dropped out.

Typically when we think of workers dropping out of the labor market these days, we think of workers who have been unemployed for a while and have simply given up looking for a job. But last month, almost all of the net loss of women from the labor force was accounted for by women who had jobs right before they dropped out.

Read more in today's New York Times.


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