Feb 18, 2019

Women now more educated than men, but lag in workforce

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

American women are more educated than ever, but in a surprising twist, the workforce participation rate for women has plateaued and even fallen over the past few years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Why it matters: If more women joined the workforce, that would help promote economic growth and help pay for the Social Security and Medicare needs of the large, retiring Boomer generation.

There are a few theories about this:

  • It could be a result of generational shifts: Women are beginning their careers later. And older people are retiring earlier in the U.S. than in places like Canada, economist Diane Schanzenbach, director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, told Axios.
  • Some economists and researchers point to a lack of generous family leave or child care assistance policies as a reason the rate of working women has fallen behind other nations, said Lisa Barrow, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve in Chicago. Ivanka Trump has made this her signature issue.

By the numbers: Women with a bachelor's, master's or professional degree are still less likely to be working than men with the same education level, according to BLS.

  • Less educated women are worst off: Workforce participation rates have fallen the most and wages have risen the least among women with only a high school diploma or less, Schanzenbach said.

The big picture: The U.S. used to be a global leader for female workforce participation. But the U.K., Canada and even Japan are now ahead, according to World Bank data.

The bottom line: The gender gap in the U.S. workforce is still a big problem — and it will be harder to maintain economic growth and sustain a large, retired generation if it isn't closed.

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Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

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Buttigieg campaign claims Nevada caucuses were "plagued with errors"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg's campaign wrote a letter on Sunday asking the Nevada State Democratic Party to release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct and address certain caucus errors identified by campaigns, The Nevada Independent reports.

The big picture: The campaign alleges that the process of integrating early votes on caucus day was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies,” and says it received more than 200 incident reports from precincts around the state.

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Coronavirus threat grows, threatening some drug supplies

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

As the novel coronavirus continues spreading globally and China grapples with a limited production capability, there's a growing risk to about 150 prescription drugs in the U.S., sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The coronavirus has spread to more countries, with both South Korea and Italy stepping up emergency measures amid rising case numbers on Sunday. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,467 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China.

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