Will interest rates start to fall in time for the spring homebuying season? Hopes that the Federal Reserve would cut the federal rate—which impacts mortgage rates—were dashed when last Friday’s jobs report showed signs of a cooling jobs market.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 275,000 jobs were added in February, better than the 198,000 jobs economists were predicting. However, that was one of the few bright spots in the report.

Here are 5 takeaways from the jobs report:

  1. Unemployment jumped–again. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% from 3.7%. 
  2. More Americans were unemployed last month. Some 6.5 million people were unemployed, up 334,000 from the month prior.
  3. Women’s unemployment reversed course for the worse. The unemployment rate for women jumped to 3.5% in February, up from 3.2% in January after falling from 3.3% in December.
  4. A lot fewer jobs have been created lately than initially thought. The economy created 168,000 fewer jobs in December and January than previously reported.
  5. Paychecks are falling. Wage growth slowed last month, which is bad news for households coping with elevated inflation.

The industries that mostly added jobs are those where women are concentrated, but that’s not necessarily positive:

  1. Healthcare—not surprising given the rapidly aging Baby Boomer population that needs care—added 67,000 jobs.
  2. The government added 52,000 jobs.
  3. Restaurants and bars added 42,000 jobs.
  4. Social assistance added 24,000 jobs.

While these jobs are growing, they tend to be low-paying. Non-management social assistance jobs carry average annual salaries of $28,000 to $48,000. Similarly, food service workers earn $28,000 to $40,000 on average. Government jobs tend to pay less than private sector jobs, and many healthcare professions—except for doctors, surgeons, and specialists—earn modest pay.

Given lower pay and rising costs of household staples and services such as food, utilities, and insurance, it’s not surprising that more women than men are working more than one job to make ends meet. Furthermore, more women today are holding down two or more jobs than one year prior, the opposite trend than men.

Women balance many priorities while earning a living, such as raising children, caring for aging parents, and managing their own health conditions. 

Now is not the time for the Biden Administration to undercut flexible work by imposing new regulations that will have a sweeping impact on women’s ability to remain in the workforce. 

IWF has been sounding the alarm for over two years about the new DOL regulations set to take effect today. We believe the new DOL independent contractor rule will lead to the loss of income, opportunities, and businesses for women nationwide. California tells the tale of this hardship. 

Check out these Chasing Work stories of people who depend on earning $1099 income through independent contracting. And share yours!