Working moms

For most families, Mom is still heading to work

March 28, 2011 at 7:41 AM ET

If you dropped off a surly teenager or wiped a splash of baby food off your suit before heading to work this morning, you're not alone.

The percentage of moms with kids under 18 who are either working or looking for work dipped slightly in 2010 after holding steady through 2008 and 2009. Still, more than 7 in 10 moms are participating in the labor force, according to newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS said 70.8 percent of women with children under 18 are participating in the labor force, down from 71.4 percent in 2009. Although that drop is slight, it represents the lowest percentage of moms in the labor force since 2005.

The overall labor force participation rate for all workers has fallen over the past few years, amid economic hard times and a high unemployment rate.

Moms haven't been immune to those problems. The unemployment rate for moms with kids under 18 was 9 percent in 2010, nearly double what it was in 2007.

Married moms have historically fared better in the job market than single moms, and this difficult time hasn't been an exception. The unemployment rate for married moms was 6.3 percent last year.

Moms who are divorced, widowed, never married or married with an absentee spouse faced an unemployment rate of 14.6 percent, according to the BLS.

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