Kenosha and Racine sit at the heart of one of the busiest economic corridors in the United States. Both communities are primary participants in the production of goods and services in the region. Despite lower unemployment rates in recent years as well as new employers moving in the region, challenges in the labor market remain. In particular, women earn less than men overall. The data show differences along broad categories employment and labor force participation. These data serve as a starting point about women’s participation in the workforce across different sectors as well as the need for equitable compensation between men and women.
- Women in Kenosha and Racine counties had similar but slightly lower labor force participation (LFP) rates than Wisconsin women.
- Hispanic women in Kenosha and Racine had slightly higher LFP rates than Hispanic women in the state, +3.6% points in Kenosha, and +1.3% points in Racine.
- The LFP rate for Black women in Racine was substantially lower (-5.8% points) than Black women in Wisconsin.
- With the exception of the Black population, men have higher LFP rates than women.
- Hispanic women in Kenosha recorded the largest gender disparity in LFP rates; Hispanic women had a LFP rate 12.1% points lower than Hispanic men.
- Black women in the state (+6.4% points) and in Racine (+6.1% points) recorded LFP rate higher than men.
*Labor force participation rate = (unemployed + employed) / (civilian noninstitutional population, age ≥16)
- With the exception of Hispanic women, employment rates were lower for women in the counties than more generally in the state of Wisconsin. This is especially true for Black women, where compared to Wisconsin, the female employment rate was 5.7% points lower in Kenosha, and 3.3% points lower in Racine.
- In contrast, Hispanic women in the counties had slightly higher employment rates than the state, +0.6% points in Kenosha, and +2.8% points in Racine.
- With the exception of Black in Wisconsin and in Racine County, women had lower employment rates than men.
- This was especially true for Hispanic women in Kenosha, who registered an employment rate that was 11.3% points lower than Hispanic men.
- As we saw with the labor force participation rate, the gender gap among Blacks in Wisconsin and Racine proved to be an exception. In Wisconsin, the employment rate for Black women was 10% points higher than Black men.
* Employment rate = (employed) / (civilian noninstitutional population, age ≥16)
- Within each race/ethnicity group, rates of unemployment among Kenosha women were higher than observed statewide, with Hispanic and Black women in Kenosha recording unemployment rates 4.0% points and 7.2% points higher than respective rates in the state.
- In contrast, Hispanic and Black women in Racine registered lower levels of unemployment than their counterparts statewide, -2.5% points and -3.1% points, respectively.
- In Kenosha, women experienced practically the same rate of unemployment as men overall. However, Black women in Kenosha had an unemployment rate 2.6% points higher than Black men in the county. This is in stark contrast with Black women at the state level who had an unemployment rate 3.1% points lower than Black men statewide.
- In Racine, women recorded lower unemployment rates than men across all groups, with Black women registering an unemployment rate that was 8.7% points lower than Black men in Racine.
* Unemployment rate = (unemployed) / (unemployed + employed)
- A salient feature of the U.S. labor market is the separation of men and women into occupations dominated by one or the other gender. Tracking occupational segregation is important for a number of reasons, but it is particularly critical in understanding the gender earnings gap.
- The dissimilarity index (DI)[i] is a way of measuring how much gender segregation there is among the 25 occupations reported in the American Community Survey. DI ranges from 100, perfect segregation into strictly “women’s jobs” and “men’s jobs”, to 0, or perfect occupational integration where each occupation contains the same percentage female as the overall workforce.
- As the table shows, in 2017 there was more occupational segregation in Wisconsin and the two counties than observed in the U.S.
- The DI=39.7 for the entire U.S. means that nearly 40% of women employed in the U.S. would have to change jobs in order to attain perfect occupational integration.
- The State of Wisconsin and Racine County had similar levels of occupational segregation (42.9 and 43.0), where about 43% of women would have to change jobs to achieve perfect integration. Kenosha exhibited the highest level of segregation, requiring nearly 44% of women to change jobs to attain integration.
[i] DI= where fi (mi) is the number of females (males) in the ith occupation, and F (M) is the total number of females (males) employed in the geographic area.
2013-2017 ACS 5-year Estimates Table S2402
The dissimilarity index (DI)[i] is a way of measuring how much gender segregation there is among the 25 occupations reported in the American Community Survey.
- The figures reported in these charts reflect the percentage of all women (men) in each geographic area employed in a broad occupational category. For example, 45.5% (34.8%) of all women (men) in Wisconsin were employed in “management, professional, and related occupations”.[i]
- In all race/ethnicity groups, the percentage of women in management, professional, and related occupations (MPR) is larger than the percentage of men in those occupations.
- While the percentages were smaller for both genders, the gender disparity is strongest among Hispanic and Black women. For example, in Racine about 20% of Black women and less than 10% of Black men held MPR jobs.
- There is a much larger percentage of White women in the MPR jobs than among Hispanic and Black women.
- For example, in Racine about 39% of White women had MPR occupations, but only 20% of Racine Hispanic women had MPR jobs.
[i] The three broad occupational categories have the following definitions:
- Management, Professional, and Related includes: management; business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; architecture and engineering; life, physical, and social science; community and social services; legal; education, training, and library; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations.
- Sales and Office includes: sales and related; office and administrative support occupations
- Service includes: healthcare support occupations; fire-fighting and prevention, and other protective service workers including supervisors; law enforcement workers including supervisors; food preparation and serving related; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; personal care and service occupations.
The two excluded occupational categories are “natural resources, construction, and maintenance”, and “production, transportation, and material moving” which combined accounted for 10% of female workers in Wisconsin.
- With the exception of Blacks in Racine, there is a significantly larger share of women in sales and office occupations than men. For example, in Racine 35% of White women but only 14% of White men were working in sales and office occupations.
- In Racine, however, the share of Black women in sales and office jobs (17.9%) is only marginally higher than the share of Black men in those occupations (15.6%).
There is a larger share of women in service occupations than men in all groups.
In Racine, 49% of Black women but only 22.5% of Black men had service jobs.
The share of both men and women in service occupations was larger among Hispanics and Blacks than among Whites.
In 2017, the overall earnings gender gap of 21% points in the State of Wisconsin was 1% point higher than the national earnings gender gap. The gap in both counties was slightly larger, 22% points in Kenosha and 23% points in Racine.
For all women, the reason for the larger gender gap in the counties was that men in the counties earned more than men statewide, while women in the counties earned about the same as women statewide.
The earnings gender gap among Hispanics in the state and in Racine were relatively small (10% points) but in Kenosha it was 27% points.
The reason for the large gender gap among Hispanics in Kenosha is that Hispanic women earned substantially less than Hispanic women statewide, while Hispanic men in Kenosha earned about the same as their counterparts statewide.
In Kenosha, Black women achieved near earnings parity and recorded only a 4.3% point gender gap, while in Racine Black women recorded a 22% point gap.
The reason for near-parity in Kenosha, however, was not because women’s earnings were relatively high, rather it was because the annual earnings of Black men in Kenosha was about $2,000 less than their counterparts statewide.
In Racine, the story was reversed – Black women earned nearly $4,000 less than their counterparts statewide, while the annual earnings of Black men in Racine was the same as earnings of Black men statewide.
2013-2017 ACS 5-year Estimates Tables B20017, B20017A, B20017I, and B20017B.