Although many workplaces continue to have a gender gap, the recent rebound in the U.S. labor pool is being driven by women. The share of prime-age women who are in the labor pool rose to 75.8 percent in the last quarter of 2018 from 73.8 percent three years earlier, federal data shows. By contrast, for their male peers, participation climbed less than a percentage point to 89 percent over the same period. Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says another reason for the female-led resurgence may be that much of the recent job creation has been in women-dominated service jobs, such as nursing and social care, which many men remain reluctant to take. The surge in women returning to the workforce reverses a 16-year slide. Although some U.S. firms have expanded parental benefits in recent years, the increase in female labor is not primarily driven by mothers returning to work, according to Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI. In fact, he notes that young married women without children have made one of the biggest comebacks in the labor force, second only to single mothers. The resurgence of women in the workforce is a positive sign for the economy.
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