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ERIC Number: ED520734
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
How Are Low-Skilled Women Doing in the Labor Market? Policy Brief #6
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan
When chronicling how less-skilled workers have fared in the U.S. since the late 1970's, existing literature often cites their falling wages and declining participation in the labor force. Most research describing these trends, however, focuses primarily on men, failing to account for the fact that less-skilled women's real wages have not fallen, and their labor force participation has actually risen. Rebecca M. Blank and Heidi Shierholz address this topic by breaking down labor market outcomes over the last 25 years by gender and skill level, and exploring possible reasons why less-skilled women might have fared better than less-skilled men in recent decades. Their findings include: Over the last 25 years, women's labor force participation rose steeply while men's fell slightly. This pattern is true among both more and less skilled women. Over the same time period, the male/female wage gap also narrowed. The relationship between education or experience and labor market outcomes has changed. For less-skilled women, the benefit from having additional years of education or experience has improved, and the negative consequences of family and children have lessened. Less-skilled women have benefited from these changes relative to less-skilled men, even while losing ground to more-skilled women. Hence, less-skilled women have occupied an intermediate place in the labor market, doing better than equivalent men but not as well as their more-educated sisters. (Contains 2 figures.) [This paper was prepared from a paper by Rebecca Blank and Heidi Shierholz.]
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan. Joan and Sanford Weill Hall Suite 5100, 735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Tel: 734-615-5312; Fax: 734-615-8047; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Poverty Center