Percentage of Working Women in Record Drop
Surprised experts thought 'motherhood movement' caused drop
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2008 3:25 AM CDT
Women's numbers in the workforce have declined during an economic upswing for the first time in more than 30 years.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – The percentage of women in the US job market dipped this decade through a period of economic recovery for the first time in 48 years—and the faltering economy is bound to do even more damage, reports the New York Times. Like men, American women are leaving the workplace due to mediocre wages, layoffs and outsourcing, according to a new study. The central problem is manufacturing, where one million women have lost jobs since 2001.

"We thought it was the motherhood movement," one economist said. “We did not think it was the economy, but realized that it was.” The proportion of women holding jobs in their prime working years, 25 to 54, peaked at 74.9% in 2000. Last month, it was 72.7%, translating to 4 million fewer jobs for women and wiping out 12 years of gains.