A Closer Look, Report

Labor force participation among young moms and dads in US – Mothers are working a greater portion of the year

Over the past four decades, the labor force has changed dramatically. Women’s labor market participation rates have risen, and women are increasingly working throughout their adult lives. One consequence of these changes is that men’s and women’s roles have been converging, with men taking a more active role at home, doing a greater share of housework and child care, and women spending more time in paid work.

It is still common, however, for women to take time out of the labor force when they have children. With the trend toward shared responsibilities in the home between the genders, are young men increasingly spending more time out of the labor force after the birth of a child?

This Beyond the Numbers article examines work patterns in the lives of young adults in the year after they have their first child. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth of 1997 and 1979, we compare men and women born between 1980 and 1984 with men and women born between 1957 and 1964 to see how labor force participation among new moms and dads has changed.

This analysis looks at individuals who had a first child between the ages of 18 and 24 and compares them to individuals of the same age without children.

Our data indicate that although women typically continue to take more time out of the labor force after the birth of a child than do men, differences have been narrowing. However, this narrowing is largely the result of increased labor force participation of mothers in the year after giving birth, rather than decreased labor force participation among new fathers.

Capture d’écran 2014-11-16 à 10.28.05

Many young mothers in the most recent cohort worked a greater portion of the year after the birth of their child, creating a markedly different labor market experience from young mothers in the previous cohort. Young fathers’ work patterns have also changed, but far less dramatically. They still work slightly more than young men who have not become fathers, but the differences between fathers and men without children are smaller in the more recent generation of young men.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at How has labor force participation among young moms and dads changed? A comparison of two cohorts : Beyond the Numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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