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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Employment Rate of Women Is Higher In Japan Than in the United States

The Employment Rate of Women Is Higher In Japan Than in the United States

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Friday, 23 August 2013 07:11

Laura Tyson has a NYT Economix blog post that highlights the success of Japan's policy of running large budget deficits. While Japan has a gross debt of almost 250 percent of GDP (more than twice the ratio in the U.S.), the government has embarked on an ambitious stimulus plan to boost its economy. In the two quarters this plan has been in place Japan's economy has grown at 3.0 percent annual rate (3.1 percent per capita). By comparison, in the United States, where deficit reduction has been the guiding policy, the economy has grown at just a 1.4 percent annual rate (0.7 percent per capita).

Tyson notes that one of the main goals of the current policy is to bring more Japanese women into the labor force. It tells readers that the gap in employment rates in Japan between men and women is 25 percentage points.

Actually, this comment refers to data that does not reflect the current situation in Japan. The employment rate among women has increased substantially in recent years. According to the OECD, the employment rate for prime age women (ages 25-54) in Japan was 69.2 percent last year. This implies a gap in employment rates between women and men of 22.3 percentage points in Japan compared to just 13.3 percentage points in the United States. However, this difference is explained entirely by a lower employment rate for men in the United States, as the employment rate for prime age women in the United States is also 69.2 percent. 

In fact, since the employment rate for women aged 16-64 in Japan has risen by 1.3 percentage points in the first half of 2013 from its year-round average in 2012, the employment rate for prime age women in Japan is now almost certainly higher than in the United States. 

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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