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Employment Status for Women and Minorities in Illinois

Employment Status for Women and Minorities in Illinois
By: Tam, 2004

Illinois residents hope for a more favorable employment rate as this year’s presidential election shifts into high gear. As the job market limps along, minorities and woman continue to get hit the hardest.

Overall, the totals for employment have fallen in the last year to a new low of 62 percent, with no uplifting change from 2003.  According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, there were 8.2 million (5.6 percent) unemployed persons in February. It’s a drastic shortfall when compared to 375,412 (3.9 percent) of unemployed potential workers, in 2000.

Broken down, a 2004 Gallup Poll suggests that President Bush has higher job approval ratings among men over women. The United States Census declares 4.9 million women over 16-years-old to be employed in Illinois but the total numbers do not reflect a healthy job market. Woman and minorities are shouldering the burden of unemployment with Bureau of Labor Statistics rates for adult women at 6.2 percent.

The BLS shows access to top-paying jobs varies among women according to race and ethnicity. White women comprise 38 percent of Illinois’ total private sector workforce. Within that range, the Illinois Department of Labor says white women occupy nearly 84 percent in roles of management, 77 percent of other professional duties, and 72 percent as technicians.

In the public sector women generally have more access to positions with higher status, greater responsibility, and higher pay in state government. They make up 44 percent in management positions, 62 percent in other professional positions,  and 64 percent in all technical positions within the State of Illinois. IDOL says the highest annual median income range for professional women in Cook County hovers between $43,000 and $54,900.

The previous decade was a better time for overall growth in the job market. According to IDOL, the 1990’s saw a major increase in female employment of all minority groups.  Employment of white women in the Illinois private sector increased only 9 percent, but black women increased by 24 percent, positions filled by hispanic women increased by 70 percent, and working Asian women increased by 75.

(Update with some newer stats in 2012)


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