Women's employment patterns during early parenthood: A group-based trajectory analysis


Sociology Department, 323 Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (kbh24@cornell.edu).


Research on women's employment and parenthood frequently focuses on the correlates and consequences of decisions at a particular time, such as a birth. This article applies a group-based trajectory method to examine women's employment trajectories across the period of early parenthood using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (N= 2,093). We find that throughout early parenthood, women exhibit significant movement into and out of the labor force. Factors that typically predict women's employment status, such as age at first birth and education, are also good predictors of women's employment patterns. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research, particularly on the use of a static measure of women's or couples’ employment status.