Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Changes in the Life Cycle of Women's Employment

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Changes in the Life Cycle of Women's Employment

Article excerpt

How has the life cycle of women's employment changed in recent years? Research shows an increase in labor force experience for women across cohorts, in part because of less leave taken after childbirth. However, what is the effect of taking leave after giving birth on future employment opportunities? According to "The new lifecycle of women's employment: disappearing humps, sagging middles, expanding tops" (National Bureau of Economic Research working paper no. 22913, December 2016) by Claudia Goldin and Joshua Mitchell, the increased employment of older women is related to a higher frequency of continuous work experience during their career.

Labor market participation of women in the United States is relatively low in comparison with other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations. For American women born before 1950, employment increased dramatically from age 20 until they reached the late 40s, then decreased in their early 50s. However, this pattern is different for women born since the mid-1950s: their employment is high for a decade after their schooling ends, decreases during their 30s to early 40s, and then increases slightly before phasing out in their later years (60 and above). According to the study, this pattern suggests that the labor force participation of women from their mid-40s will be similar to that of their male counterparts.

The study used data from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey conducted by the Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study also used data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Health and Retirement Study, both of which are linked to earnings data from the Social Security Administration and W-2 income tax records. …

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