Women still a small share of construction and manufacturing jobs | #JobsDay July 2023

, | Jul 7, 2023

Today’s Jobs Report comes on the heels of President Biden’s trip to South Carolina, where he highlighted new infrastructure investments in manufacturing and technology resulting from his administration’s historic investments in industrial policy – the cornerstone of his Bidenomics agenda.

Yet the data show there is much to be done to ensure women – especially women of color – are fully part of this critical job growth. Today’s Jobs Report data show that women are a small share of the manufacturing industry, at just 29.1 percent, and an even smaller share of construction, at a mere 14.1 percent.

And even these figures don’t tell the full story. For example, our research shows that women in construction are more frequently found in administrative roles and that their representation in the most common construction occupations—such as carpenters and painters, for instance—is far lower than the industry average. Women make up less than four percent of construction laborers and less than two percent of carpenters, the largest construction occupations. In fact, women make up less than ten percent of all but one of the top 10 most common construction occupations— and those occupations account for two-thirds of jobs in the construction industry. And even when women are in the most common construction occupations, they make less. Across the seven most common construction occupations, women typically made less than men working in the same occupation and industry full time, year round.

Construction, along with manufacturing, are at the core of the Bidenomics agenda that is tackling much-needed projects related to everything from roads and bridges to semiconductors to broadband access. But it will take intentional, equitable implementation to ensure that this agenda fully delivers on its promise of good jobs for everyone, including Secretary Raimondo’s pledge to add 1 million more women in construction in the next decade.

For example, our research shows that without a concerted effort to change the status quo, women will account for only 29 percent of jobs created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), one of the Administration’s premier infrastructure investments. And the figures for women of color are even more stark: Black women will account for less than four percent of new jobs, Latinas less than five percent, AAPI women less than two percent, multiracial women less than one percent and Native women 0.1 percent – just 1,150 jobs out of nearly 800,000 per year.

The Administration has already made important commitments on equitable implementation, including ensuring that companies benefitting from CHIPS funding will have to provide high-quality child care for their workers. Yet this month unemployment rates for Black women, Latinas and Asian women all rose, even as the overall rate ticked down. As the Administration’s industrial policy agenda moves full steam ahead, it’s even more crucial to ensure that women, especially women of color are full partners in and beneficiaries of these efforts.

Read our full analysis of today’s Jobs Report on Twitter.

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