Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > The workforce shrank. The gender divide persisted

The workforce shrank. The gender divide persisted

After trending up for 14 months, the labor force—people working or actively seeking work—decreased slightly in April and more in May. The losses came from the ranks of the employed, leaving the workforce below its 2009 peak by nearly 15,000 workers.





Women: Stuck in a few fields  The share of women workers in any field has not changed much in a decade. Women comprise the minority in most sectors and are especially underrepresented in construction, utilities, and transportation. They make up the majority in many service-oriented jobs, such as health care and educational services, but tend to be more equally represented in other service fields, such as accommodation and food services and retail stores.




. . . and still paid less
Although the gender gap in earnings has closed in certain sectors—including wholesale trade, utilities, and arts, entertainment, and recreation—women’s average pay lags behind men’s across the board. In 2016 women in management and in finance and insurance earned about half as much as men. Women’s earnings exceeded 90 cents on a man’s dollar in only one sector out of 23. The gap may reflect both lower wages and fewer hours worked.

*For readability, the charts include only 20 of the 23 sectors for which the Vermont Department of Labor collects these data. Find the full list at the VDOL website.

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