2Center or American Progress | Not Working: Unemployment Among Married Couples
High unemploymen, especially among husbands, is occurring across amilies, regard-less o race or ehniciy. Arican-American husbands, however, are more likely o beunemployed compared o oher husbands. Given he long-sanding ruism ha he raeo Arican-American unemploymen is abou double ha o whie unemploymen, andhe excruciaingly high unemploymen because o he Grea Recession, amilies o colorare sruggling more han ever. Making sure ha all workers—including men o color—have access o good jobs mus be a op policy prioriy.Tis brie will explore hese rends in more deph and oer recommendaions going orward.
Rise in dual-earner married couples
Since he lae 1970s here has been a marked increase in he share o “dual-earner” mar-ried couples. Tis is where boh spouses are in he labor orce.
A sharp rise occurred beween 1979 and 1997, when he share o married couples wih boh spouses in labororce rose seadily rom 52.4 percen o 67.1 percen. (see Figure 1)Since 1997 he share o dual-earner marriedcouples has remained relaively a, alling slighly during recession years and increasing slighly dur-ing nonrecession years. In 2010, when he naionalunemploymen rae averaged 9.6 percen, he shareo married couples wih boh spouses in labor orce was 64.7 percen.Te share o dual-earner married couples wih bohspouses employed ell more sharply due o heGrea Recession han i had due o prior recessions.By 2010, he share o dual-earner married couples wih one spouse employed and one unemployedrose o 6.8 percen, higher han any ime since 1979.
The Great Recession underscored the importance of women’s earningsto family well-being
Te increase in dual-earner couples is due o a rise in women in he labor orce, espe-cially mohers. Beween 1979 and 2010, women’s labor orce paricipaion rose rom50.9 o 58.6 percen.
As a resul, women’s earnings have become increasingly imporano amily well-being.By 2008, women were breadwinners or co-breadwinners in wo-hirds o amilies wihchildren, bringing home a leas a quarer o heir amilies’ earnings.
In 2009, he las
Percent of married couples with both spouses in the labor force
Source: Center for American Progress’ analysis of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Extracts of theCurrent Population Survey, Outgoing Rotation Group Files
40%50%60%70%Both spousesemployedOne spouseemployed, oneunemployedBoth spousesunemployed20101980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005Recessions in gray