Labor Force Participation for Women at Lowest Level Since 1991 While Poor Economy Negatively Impacts Daily Life and Long-Term Plans for Overwhelming Majority of Young Women

Labor Force Participation for Women at Lowest Level Since 1991 While Poor Economy Negatively Impacts Daily Life and Long-Term Plans for Overwhelming Majority of Young Women

Polling data indicates that, as unemployment for young women hits 12.6 percent, only 37 percent say elected leaders represent their interests and 78 percent plan to vote in presidential election

Washington, DC – (9/12/12) – According to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor in its monthly jobs report on Friday, September 7, 2012, women continued to experience more than a twenty year low in labor force participation in August. The labor force participation rate for women in August was 57.6 percent, marking the lowest percentage level since December 1991 and the fourth time this year the rate has reached that low. The labor force participation rate, a measure of those who are actively employed and those who are unemployed but are seeking a job, is considered a key indicator in gauging the health of the U.S. labor market. Vast numbers of women have essentially given up looking for work through no fault of their own, in many cases due to the extreme lack of economic opportunity.

Before the Department of Labor report, Generation Opportunity released new polling data detailing how the poor economy continues to have a devastating impact on young adult women ages 18 to 29 years old. The poll, commissioned by Generation Opportunity, found that 90 percent of Millennial women are feeling an impact in their daily lives and that 84 percent are delaying major life, financial security, and career decisions because of the current state of the economy. In addition, only 37 percent of young women indicated that they believe that today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans, and 78 percent of 18-29 year old women plan to vote in the election for president this year.

“These numbers tell the story of a very stark reality being played out in the daily lives and long-term plans of young women. Today’s sad reality is one of limited economic opportunity and a lack of jobs, both of which are direct results of this president’s failed policies and stubborn pursuit of a policy agenda that is clearly rolling back the progress that our mothers and grandmothers worked hard to achieve. After generations of women fought for equality and access to opportunities not long ago reserved solely for men, it should come as no surprise that young women simply want the opportunity to create a future for themselves, to contribute to their communities, and to ultimately make the country a better place for generations to come,” said Amber S. Roseboom, Executive Vice President of Generation Opportunity and a former Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Office of Personnel Management.

“The policies of this president and his administration are making opportunities for young women fewer and fewer. They are denying an entire generation the opportunity to be independent and to contribute to and plan for a better future. Young women in particular, after inheriting a legacy in which greater opportunity is not just a right, but an expectation, will not sit idly by and let it slip away. Very clearly, young women do not feel their views are represented in Washington, and they plan to make their voices heard in the upcoming presidential election.”

For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,003 adults ages 18-29 between July 27 and July 31, 2012.  Randomly selected online opt-in panel participants were sent an invitation to the survey via email which included a secure link to the online questionnaire. Quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old nationwide population with regard to race, region, and gender. The data were NOT weighted.

The overall sampling margin of error for the survey is ±3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that the data obtained would not differ more than 3.1 percentage points in 95 out of 100 similar samples obtained. Margins of error for subgroups are higher. Women comprised 49% of the total sample for this study.

  • 90% of 18-29 year old women changed some aspect of their day-to-day lives because of the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
  • 65% – reduced entertainment budget;
  • 56% – reduced grocery/food budget;
  • 48% – cut back on gifts for friends and family;
  • 43% – skipped a vacation;
  • 40% – driven less/relied more on public transit;
  • 39% – taken active steps to reduce home energy costs;
  • 32% – tried to find an additional job;
  • 27% – changed living situation (moved in with family, taken extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
  • 27% – sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
  • 18% – skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event;
  • 2% – other, specified;
  • 8% – none of the above (accepted only this response);
  • 2% – do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 84% of Millennial women have delayed or might not do at least one major life event due to the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
  • 40% – buy my own place;
  • 35% – go back to school/getting more education or training;
  • 31% – pay off student loans or other debt;
  • 29% – change jobs/cities;
  • 28% – start a family;
  • 25% – save for retirement;
  • 22% – get married;
  • 13% – none of the above (accepted only this response);
  • 3% – do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 62% of young adult women believe the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.
  • 75% believe that the lack of job opportunities is shrinking the American middle class.
  • Only 37% believe that today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.
  • 78% of 18-29 year old women plan to vote in the election for President this year.

Earlier this month, Generation Opportunity released the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment data for Millennials for August 2012:

The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds specifically for August 2012 is 12.7 percent (NSA).

  • The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans for August 2012 is 22.4 percent (NSA); the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for August 2012 is 13.7 percent (NSA); and the youth unemployment rate for 18–29 year old women for August 2012 is 12.6 percent (NSA).
  • The declining labor participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
  • If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 youth unemployment calculation, the actual 18-29-unemployment rate would rise to 16.7 percent (NSA).

ABOUT GENERATION OPPORTUNITY

Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs, and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization’s social media platforms – “Being American by GO,” “The Constitution by GO,” “Gas Prices Are Too Damn High,” “Lower Taxes by GO,” “Keep Texas Awesome,” “Jersey Proud,” and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about Generation Opportunity here; visit “Being American by GO” on Facebook here, “The Constitution by GO” on Facebook here“Gas Prices Are Too Damn High” on Facebook here, “Lower Taxes by GO” on Facebook here, “Keep Texas Awesome” on Facebook here, “Jersey Proud” on Facebook here, and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook here.

For our Spanish-language page – Generación Oportunidad – click here.

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