The latest jobs report may have flown under your radar as it was released the day after Independence Day. 

We’ve got a quick overview of the jobs report and what it means for regular Americans:

  1. Unemployment rose—again. The unemployment rate rose to 4.1% from 4%, the highest level since November 2021, as more people joined the workforce.
  2. Job growth is slowing. The number of new jobs was revised down for May and April by a combined 111,000 jobs. 
  3. The government is increasingly becoming the biggest new employer. A third of the new jobs (70,000) in June were in government. Add to that healthcare (48,6000) and social assistance (82,400) jobs, some of which depend on government funding, and we find that government or government-supporting jobs make up about three out of four jobs.
  4. More women across all racial groups are out of work. The unemployment rate for adult women jumped to 3.7% from 3.4%. However, the unemployment rates spiked from May to June for black, Hispanic, and white women to 5.7% from 5.2%, 4.5% from 4.1%, and 3.1% from 3%, respectively.
  5. Women lead men in taking on multiple jobs. Some 4.3 million women, compared to 3.9 million men, hold two or more jobs—both up from the month prior. 

Our monthly Women in the Workforce report gives a snapshot of where the workforce is for women.

The overall labor force is loosening up as fewer new jobs are added, and those tend to be government or government-supported employment.

Also, the increase in part-time employment is a trend likely to continue. A separate analysis last month found that from January 2022 to May 2024, advertisements for part-time jobs were up by about 10% but flat for full-time positions.

Employers increasingly demonstrate a preference for part-time workers, perhaps because of rising labor costs, cooling economic conditions, or because workers seek work-life balance and flexibility.

For workers, they may be seeking flexibility or—more likely—they are not making enough with one job because of elevated inflation. They have to take on multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Notably, women are concentrated in the industries most affected by this upward trend in part-time work: beauty and wellness; personal care and home health; retail; and food preparation and service.

If the economy is adding jobs, but we’re seeing troubling trends such as more part-time employment, is the labor market truly in a good place? 

Heritage scholar E.J. Antioni answered this question following last month’s jobs report:

Households reported a stunning drop in employment by over 400,000. Another 400,000 people gave up and left the labor force entirely. The result was an increase in the unemployment rate to 4.0 percent. That raises an important question: Why are businesses reporting more payrolls while households are reporting fewer people employed?

Statistical problems, the double counting of multiple job holders, and other factors have caused the number of payrolls to continue climbing while the number of people employed has been falling. There are now 783,000 million fewer people employed than six months ago.

In light of this analysis, the economy is not as robust as the headlines paint it.

Bottom Line

Women are working more jobs, likely out of necessity for flexibility or income, while others are losing their jobs. This situation demands alternatives to traditional employment, such as self-employment or gig work. Through independent contracting, women are able to satisfy both desires. 

It’s frustrating then that the Biden administration has implemented regulations that make it difficult to be self-employed or do gig work. These regulations cannot stand.