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Highlights from the Women in the Michigan Workforce Report

Women make up just under 50 percent of the Michigan labor force. Addressing issues that impact women’s education, earnings, and ability to participate in the labor force is in the best interest of the Michigan economy. The Women in the Michigan Workforce report discusses disparities faced by women to help define the scope of the issue. This summary provides some of the report’s key insights.

Read and download the full report.

This report was created in partnership with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). We would like to particularly thank Director Stephanie Beckhorn, LEO’s Director of the Office of Employment and Training, for her support of this report.

Labor Force and Employment 

Labor force numbers for women declined more than those for men and have been slower to recover their pre-pandemic numbers.

Index* of Michigan Labor Force by Gender (Ages 16+)

Source: Current Population Survey, U.S. Census Bureau

*An index year of 2019 means that labor force numbers were set equal to 100 in 2019 and percent changes were calculated from there.


The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic affected labor force numbers for both men and women ages 16 and older, however, declines for women were sustained much longer than men. Labor force numbers for men in Michigan have gradually increased since the end of 2021 and have remained above pre-pandemic levels since June 2023 (July 2022–June 2023). Meanwhile, average labor force numbers for Michigan women have consistently been below pre-pandemic numbers over the time period. Preliminary annual 2023 data show that women were at 99.9 percent of their 2019 labor force, a remaining loss of approximately 1,900 women. This resulted in labor force participation rates of 57.3 percent for women ages 16 and older and 67.2 percent for men, a gap of nearly 10 percentage points. These rates were slightly lower than the U.S. average participation rates for both women (57.2 percent) and men (68.1 percent).


Michigan women who worked full-time, year-round earned approximately 81 cents per dollar that men earned.

Despite making up roughly half the population in each state, women earned notably less than men across the United States. Michigan ranked 30th of 50 for smallest gap in women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s among all full-time, year-round workers. Michigan women who worked full-time earned approximately 81 cents on the dollar compared to men who worked full-time. The top three states for smallest gender wage gaps were Vermont, California, and New York. Even with gaps that were closer than all other U.S. states, women earned over 10 percent less than their male counterparts in these states.

Women who worked full-time, year-round earned notably less than male counterparts in all states across the U.S.

Earnings for Women as a Percentages of Earnings for Men by State (Ages 16+, Full-Time, Year-Round)

Source: 2022 One-Year Estimates, American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau


Differences in earnings are further exacerbated when looking at race and ethnicity. White non-Hispanic men who worked full-time earned an average of nearly $64,200 in 2022 while white-non-Hispanic women earned just under $51,000 (79 cents per dollar). Comparatively, women who are Black/African American earned an average of $43,320 which was slightly less than their male counterparts but only 68 cents per every dollar a white non-Hispanic man earned. The disparity is similar when looking at Hispanic/Latino women who earned an average of $43,060, representing approximately 67 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men.

Earning gaps among men and women existed in each race and ethnicity category but are even more pronounced when specifically compared to white non-Hispanic men.

Median Earnings in Michigan by Gender (Ages 16+ with Earnings)

 dumbbell graph displaying earnings gaps between white non-hispanic, black/african american, and hispanic/latino men and women.

Source: 2022 One-Year Estimates, American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau

View/Download Data Table


Education and Training

Women in Michigan are more likely to hold some form of postsecondary education than men.

As of 2022, approximately 66 percent of women had some level of postsecondary education while only 62 percent of men had the same. Women are also earning a substantial portion of the new degrees and certificates awarded throughout the state. Women earned close to 60 percent of the total degrees and certificates in the 2021–2022 academic year.

Just under 66 percent of women had some level of postsecondary education compared to about 62 percent of men.

Educational Attainment by Gender in Michigan (Ages 25+) 

Source: 2022 One-Year Estimates, American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau


Additionally, women play an important role in Registered Apprenticeships1 in Michigan. Typically, most Registered Apprenticeship programs are male dominated, however, over the last decade there has been a push to increase representation among women. In 2023, there were just over 1,800 active women registered apprentices in Michigan. This accounted for about 10 percent of all active registered apprentices across the state.

For a more comprehensive analysis on these topics including patterns of work, employment by industries and occupations, poverty, and more, please review the full report.



1 References to apprentice/apprenticeship in this report refer specifically to Michigan’s Registered Apprenticeship programs, which are defined by the U.S. Department of Labor.