Grade 9-12

Women in the US Workforce During WWII – Measuring Unemployment

Time: 45 min,
Updated: March 19 2024,

In this lesson, students examine information about changes in the number of women participating in the labor force during and immediately after World War II. They are asked to explain the increase in the number of women working outside the home. They examine basic economic measures of employment, unemployment and the labor force within the context of World War II.

The mystery in this lesson asks why the percentage of unemployed women increased during World War II even though the overall unemployment rate of men and women fell. To solve this mystery, students review how employment is measured.

This lesson was originally published in CEE’s Understanding Economics in U.S. History, which uses a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students through 39 lessons. Visit the CEE Store for more information about the publication and how to purchase it.