WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 353,000 jobs were added in January. Employment in November and December combined was 126,000 jobs greater than previously reported. The unemployment rate remained the same at 3.7% (seasonally adjusted), and the number of unemployed persons ticked down to 6.1 million. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.5% (still below pre-pandemic levels). 

For women:

  • The unemployment rate for adult women ticked down to 3.2% from 3.3%.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 4.8% for black women and ticked down to 4.3% from 4.5% for Hispanic women.
  • Women’s labor force participation fell to 57.5%, still below pre-pandemic levels.

Patrice Onwuka, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) at Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement:

“It’s positive that certain sectors of the economy are adding new jobs such as healthcare and social services where many women find opportunities. However, overall women are stressed about their finances—even more than men—and one job report will not allay their fears. 

“Some 5.5% of women are now working multiple jobs–rising last month and outpacing the share of men who hold multiple jobs. Clearly, women are looking for financial security in light of inflation that remains above early 2021 levels.

“Flexible work opportunities are a critical solution to helping women to make ends meet and stay attached to the labor force. Congress must make it a priority to protect the self-employed, freelancers, and gig workers from the Department of Labor’s detrimental new independent contractor rule. This ill-advised rule will make it difficult for millions of the nation’s 60+ million freelancers—over half of which are women—to keep their independent contractor status. If enacted this Spring, women stand to lose contracts, gigs, and even their livelihoods. The loss of self-employment and overall employment following California’s AB5 law serves as a cautionary tale. Congress should overturn it immediately. 

“Protecting independent contracting is just one of many ways to expand opportunity for women. As we explain in our new 2024 Working for Women report, policymakers can enact reforms that knock down government barriers to obtaining employment and starting small businesses, encourage flexibility, and find common sense ways to address issues that are a challenge for working women such as paid time and childcare, but without new entitlements or displacing benefits for women.” 

Read the Working for Women report HERE.



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.

Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) aims to educate the public about how government policies impact people’s opportunities for economic development and upward mobility.