10 August 2010

Economy Worsens for Single Mothers, Women of Color

New numbers on the economy are proving that when times get hard, women are hit hardest.

The Obama Administration is busy touting that overall unemployment held steady in July, at 9.5% (or 14.6 million Americans). [The New York Times's Bob Herbert reports that even these numbers vastly understate the proportions of the crisis.]  But that number masks some troubling facts about who's continuing to lose jobs, even as others gain them. The ones losing out, in this case, happen to be women -- particularly single mothers and women of color.

On their Womenstake blog, Ms. Foundation grantee the National Women's Law Center reports:
Unemployment for women who head families shot up to 13.4 percent in July from 12.1 percent in June. This marks the highest unemployment rate for this particularly vulnerable group since the recession began in December 2007 and the highest rate in over 25 years.
Unemployment among African-American women jumped from 11.8 percent in June to 12.9 percent in July. The situation was similar for Hispanic women, whose unemployment rate increased by 1.1 percentage points to 12.1 percent in July, marking this group's highest unemployment rate since 1986.
Notably, 62 percent of the jobs lost in July were lost by women. (There's that pesky "mancession" for you again.)

Though government officials are likely to avoid discussing these facts, the people withing these communities have long known how precariously placed they are. As our Community Voices on the Economy Poll found in June, two-thirds of Latinas say that their personal situation has been affected by the country’s economic situation, and more than half report that they or someone in their household has lost a job in the past year. Meanwhile, 55% of African-American women report that they've been worried about the economy for five years or more.

If only the people actually running the economy had been worried for that long.

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