Dec 13, 2019

Fewer women say family responsibilities keep them out of the labor force

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: Chart shows women who want a job; Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: Chart shows women who want a job; Chart: Axios Visuals

Fewer women who want a job, but have given up looking for work, are citing "family responsibilities" as the reason.

Why it matters: In fact, the number is at a low for this economic cycle, according to quarterly data by the BLS — though it's still more than double that of men, who are more likely to cite other reasons for dropping out of the labor force.

What's going on: Women in general are hopping back into the labor market at a faster rate than before. Part of the reason behind the drop in those would-be workers citing "family responsibilities" could be employers are forced to be open to more flexible work arrangements in the tight labor market.

  • Yes, but: Julia Pollak, a labor economist at employment marketplace ZipRecruiter, points out that the "share of job postings on ZipRecruiter offering parental leave has risen tenfold since 2016, but from a very low base ... from 0.03% of jobs in 2016 to 0.3% of jobs now."
  • That's still way below 1%, she adds.

Of note: "When a firm is offering [a parental leave] benefit, not all their employees are getting it," Liz Peters, a fellow at the Urban Institute, tells Axios.

  • "There's a big socio-economic gradient. It's more likely to be offered at firms that have more high-wage or high-skill workers than those in firms that have a larger proportion of low-wage workers."

Go deeper: Corporate america feels pressure to step up paid parental leave policies

Go deeper