The share of prime-age women employed reached an all-time high of 75.3% over the last few months. This is almost 1pp higher than its previous peaks in the spring of 2000 and just before the pandemic, and 6pp higher than a decade ago. One reason for the high level of women’s employment is increased educational attainment. Over the last two decades, the share of prime-age women with a college degree rose from below 30% to more than 45%. Since college graduates are more likely to work, this raised the overall employment rate of prime-age women, adding 2.7pp since 2000. Another reason is that college-educated mothers of young children are more likely to be employed. The share of college graduates with a child under 10 who worked rose 10pp from the early 2000s to 2023. These changes were largest for mothers of infants and toddlers and were only briefly interrupted by the pandemic.
Related: Post-Pandemic Recovery for America’s Prime Age Labor Force: A Tale of Two Sexes and Men’s Falling Labor Force Participation Across Generations and Wage Inequality and the Rise in Labor Force Exit: The Case of US Prime-Age Men