Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Spotlight on Statistics

March 2011

BLS Spotlight on Statistics: Women at Work

Audio Script

Over the past several decades, the women's labor force in the United States and throughout the world has experienced many changes. Women's labor force participation rates are significantly higher today than they were in the 1970s. Throughout that period, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education and experienced an increase in their earnings as a proportion of men's earnings.

Here are some BLS data related to women at work:

  • In 2008–09, single women spent, on average, 25.4 percent of their annual expenditures on shelter.
  • In 2009, a total of 319 fatal work injuries involved women. Transportation incidents—including incidents on highways and nonhighways, as well as those involving air, rail, and water transportation—caused the highest percentage of fatal work injuries to women (43 percent), compared with 38 percent for men.
  • In 1964, about 19 million of the nation's nonfarm employees were women. By 2010, nearly 65 million women had jobs, and 53 percent of these women worked in the three industries that employed the most women: education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; and local government.
  • In 1970, 22.1 percent of women in the civilian labor force had either attended some college or graduated with a degree. By 2010, that figure had increased to 66.7 percent.
  • From 2008 to 2018, the women's civilian labor force is projected to increase by 9.0 percent. The number of women aged 65 to 74 in the civilian labor force is projected to increase more than the number of women in any other age group—increasing by 89.8 percent.

To learn more, visit


Listen: (mp3) (text)

Spotlight Tools



Please send us your feedback and comments about this article.


Back to Feature