Women's Employment Rates Have Widely Increased But Remained Flat in US, Adjusted for Aging

Jason Furman (PIIE) and Wilson Powell III (Harvard Kennedy School) 

June 12, 2018

Women's Employment Rates Have Widely Increased But Remained Flat in US, Adjusted for Aging

Women in most advanced economies were more likely to work in 2017 than 10 years earlier, after adjusting for the effects of population aging. However, in the United States, there was almost no change. Between 2007 and 2017, employment rates for women in the United States rose 0.2 percentage point while other advanced economies saw an average rise of 3.9 percentage points. The United States still ranked above average in 2017 because it had higher female employment rates initially. Some evidence shows that policies like flexible workplaces, paid leave, and childcare subsidies have been important in explaining differential trends in female employment rates between the United States and other advanced economies.

This PIIE Chart is adapted from Jason Furman and Wilson Powel III's blog post, Why Have Employment Rates in the United States Lagged Other Countries?


Nikolaos Naidos

The percent of female population employed comes from the total female population of each country, or is the percent of people working in each country. For example in Belgium in 2017 is 45%, this percent is a result from all the women in Belgium who are able to work or that the other 55% is the men who are working in Belgium.
Thank you in advance.

Wilson Powell III

Thanks for your question.

The women’s employment rate equals the number of women employed divided by the number of women in that country’s population (ages 15+). In your example, about 45 percent of women in Belgium were working in 2017 while the other 55 percent of women were not working.

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