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September 1997, Vol. 120, No. 9
Howard V. Hayghe
The increase in the proportion of working women who are working or looking for work that began shortly after World War II has been one of the most significant social and economic trends in modern U.S. history. By the 1980's, there were signs that the rise was beginning to slow and, during the early 1990's, no increase in the proportion of women in the labor force (women's labor force participation rate) took place. Beginning in 1994, however, growth appears to have resumed.
A number of factors influenced the slow-down in women's labor force participation rate growth. These include a decline in participation among women under age 25, and a long-term slowdown in participation growth among women in the prime working-age group.1 The rise in women's labor force participation rate came to a virtual halt as these factors combined with the 1990-91 recession, which had the greatest effect on women's employment of any recession over the last 30 years,2 and an uncharacteristically slow employment recovery that continued through the early part of 1993 before gaining momentum.
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1997 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 See Howard N Fullerton, Jr., "The 2005 labor force: growing, but slowly," Monthly Labor Review, November 1995, p. 34.
2 See William Goodman, Stephen Antczak, and Laura Freeman, "Women and jobs in recessions, 1969-92," Monthly Labor Review, July 1993, pp. 26-35.
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