WASHINGTON – Analysis by the National Women’s Law Center of August jobs data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has revealed unemployment among single mothers remains at the highest level since the recession began.
“For millions of women and their families, there is no recovery yet,” said Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center. “Unemployment among single mothers has almost doubled since the recession began and is at the highest level in decades. Yet critically needed help for these vulnerable families will expire unless Congress acts soon.”
While the BLS data show little change in the unemployment rate among women and men overall for the past few months, a closer look reveals significant changes for some groups of women. Unemployment for women who head families increased to 13.4 percent in July and August from 12.1 percent in June. The 13.4 percent rate is almost twice the pre-recession rate of 6.9 percent in December 2007, and the highest unemployment rate for this particularly vulnerable group in over 25 years.
The picture for women of color is also bleak. Unemployment among African American women increased to 13.2 percent in August, up from 12.9 percent in July and 11.8 percent in June. Unemployment among Hispanic women dropped from 12.1 percent in July to 11.6 percent in August, but is still higher than the 11.0 rate in June.
Before leaving for the August recess, Congress extended enhanced unemployment benefits through November to help workers unemployed for six months or more and approved additional funding to states and localities for health care and education that will help stem further job losses and deeper cuts in public services. But Congress has yet to act on a more substantial jobs measure, the Jobs for America Act, additional funding for child care assistance, restored funding for child support enforcement, and an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency fund, which has allowed states to create jobs and provide emergency assistance to families.
“Families across the country are in crisis. Yet some members of Congress have been blocking measures to create jobs and help vulnerable families but urging the extension of costly tax breaks for millionaires,” Campbell said. “Congress needs to get its priorities right.”
The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s legal rights. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women.