The total number of employed women rose by 327,000 last month, accounting for more than half of the 528,000 rise in overall payrolls. The gains were particularly strong for Latina women (the number of those working exceeded 12 million, the highest on record) and white women.
By some measures, the U.S. female workforce is recovering more quickly than the male equivalent after taking a harder hit at the start of the pandemic. About 55% of women are employed, compared to 55.9% before the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020.
The male employment rate is down 1.6 percentage points in the same period, at 65.2%, although in July the total number of employed men was higher than before the pandemic for the first time.
In April 2020, almost 12 million American women lost their jobs. Many of the jobs hardest hit by the pandemic, those that required employees to report to work sites or deal with clients in person, were disproportionately filled by women. Other challenges, including childcare responsibilities, have also made it difficult for women to return to work.
The overall female labor force, which includes both those looking for work and those who are employed, also grew in July, while among men it shrank for the fourth month in a row.
Latino men saw a sharp drop in employment in July, with a loss of 300,000 jobs. The black unemployment rate rose to 6%, almost double that of white Americans.