Working women struggle in an unfriendly economy
Women in their prime earning years are retreating from the workforce, either permanently or for long stretches, according to a recent congressional study.
Regardless of race, class, or education, more and more women are dropping out of the workforce, reversing a 20 year trend. Because of recent economic woes, women in their prime earning years are retreating from the workforce, either permanently or for long stretches. That's according to a recently-released congressional study.
"The Takeaway's" Adaora Udoji and John Hockeberry talk to Louis Uchitelle, who reports on labor for "The New York Times," about the study and the current situation for women workers.
Uchitelle says women took on jobs at ever-greater numbers every time there was an economic recovery. At the end of each recovery, the percentage of women in the workforce was higher. This time, for the first time, it's slightly lower. This is due in part to women being treated like men: they get laid off, they get their wages cut, they get discouraged, and they drop out as men have been doing for a long time.
Manufacturing job losses have hit working women hard this time as well. When women joined the assembly lines in the 1970s, they became a big presence in manufacturing. As those jobs are cut, they are now affected in greater numbers than ever before. Those jobs were good-paying positions, and workers have a hard time finding a replacement.
Uchitelle talks about a worker at a Maytag factory in Newton, Iowa. After being laid off from a job that paid $20 per hour, she was unable to find employment at that rate without going back to college -- so that's just what she did. Absences like that also contribute to the current workforce makeup.
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