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Labor and Economic Opportunity

New workforce report shows women have not recovered from pandemic-related employment loss

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity offers services and resources to help women overcome employment barriers

March 26, 2021

Media Contact: Elyse Walter, 517-449-9731

As part of Equal Pay Day and Women's History Month, the State of Michigan released the Women in the Michigan Workforce report to provide policymakers with an accurate economic picture of the impact the pandemic has had on Michigan's women. The report was researched and developed by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) with support from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

The report provides ample data regarding the disparities between women and men in the workplace, including the level of employment loss that was pandemic-driven, annual median earnings, full-time versus part-time employment rates and poverty levels.

The full report may be found on the Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives' website. A few key takeaways from the report include:

  • Between February and December 2020, roughly 136,000 women left the labor force, registering a 5.8% decline. Comparatively, the male labor force has recovered from its early pandemic loss and was up nearly 18,000 during the same period (0.7 percent).
  • Women working full-time make about 78 cents on the dollar compared to men in Michigan. Nationally, women made $43,215 while men made $52,989 representing an earnings gap of 82 cents per every dollar men earn, on average.
  • For every dollar white, non-Hispanic men earned, Black/African American women earned 65 cents and Hispanic/Latina women made 57 cents.
  • In Michigan, 57% of women work full-time, year-round compared to 71% of men.
  • Women are more likely to experience poverty than men. In 2019, an estimated 14% of all women in Michigan were below the poverty level compared to 11.9% of men.

"The disparities articulated in this report show how much needs to be done to address inequalities between women and men in the workforce by employers, individuals and government," said LEO Office of Employment and Training Director Stephanie Beckhorn. "Our agency and our partners work with women daily to help remove barriers and provide training and other services that increases their educational attainment and their ability to get hired."

LEO can connect women in Michigan to numerous programs, including assessments to better understand their unique needs; match-making tools to connect them to training providers, educational institutions, employers or other organizations; programs to help them obtain free or low-cost credentials or degrees; information on opportunities to participate in work-based learning; and much more. Visit Michigan.gov/LEO to get started.

Additional resources include local Michigan Works! Agencies, Michigan Women's Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau.