Warning Signs in the Latest Jobs Report – and a Chance for Congress to Save Child Care | #JobsDay November 2023

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Fair Pay

Today’s jobs data show important warning signs of a slowing economy. Job gains were revised down for the last few months and, even as labor force participation declined, unemployment continued to climb, reaching its highest rate since January 2022.

What gains there were predominantly went to women. Women added 120,000 jobs in October, four out of every five jobs added last month – a significantly larger share than usual due to men’s small job gains in October. Women’s gains were primarily concentrated in private education and health services (+94,000) and government (+39,000). Women’s largest losses were in transportation and warehousing (-9,000) and manufacturing (-10,000).

Manufacturing job losses were driven by the likely temporary loss of nearly 30,000 jobs in the transportation equipment manufacturing sector overall due to the UAW strike. Since these data were collected, striking workers at some plants have reached a tentative contract that increases wages and improves retirement benefits, though strike actions continue.

Women comprise a little less than a quarter of workers in transportation equipment and manufacturing – and this small share is no accident. Women are often kept out of manufacturing and other traditionally “male” jobs due to occupational segregation, which is the product of racism, sexism, ableism and more – and accounts for half of the gender wage gap. Nevertheless, women are especially likely to benefit from a strong contract. National Partnership research shows that women see a larger bump in wages than men when comparing union and non-union members – and Latinas see the largest wage bump.

Lastly, the child care sector continues to struggle. While the economy overall is up more than 4.5 million jobs since before COVID started, the child care sector has failed to fully recover to its February 2020 level.

Child care is especially important for women, both because they are the vast majority of child care workers and because child care especially supports women’s labor force participation. Fortunately Congress has the chance to act to help support families, workers and the economy by passing President Biden’s proposed $16 billion in additional funding to support the sector.

Read our entire analysis of the Jobs Report on on Twitter.

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