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Why some mothers aren't working

      The big talk story right now is an article in the New York Times titled Women Are Now Equal as Victims of Poor Economy. The paper reports that women are leaving the work force for the same reasons as men, layoffs, outsourcing and other tough economic changes, not motherhood.

    Apparently, for the first time since the women's movement came to life, an economic recovery has come and gone, and the percentage of women at work has fallen, not risen, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. In each of the seven previous recoveries since 1960, the recovery ended with a greater percentage of women at work than when it began.

   Congressional economist Heather Boushey says "when women starting to drop out in the early part of this decade, we thought it was the motherhood movement, women staying home to raise their kids. "We did not think it was the economy, but when we looked into it, we realized that it was."

   Research suggests moms, after moving into virtually every occupation, are having a hard time finding new jobs. Economists predict as the nearly seven-year-old recovery gives way to hard times, the retreat is likely to accelerate.

    University of Chicago professor Dan Black says the city of Miami has among the lowest rates of working married women of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country. He says the key reason is commuting time and costs.

   I'm wondering about the accuracy of the professor's assessment. In an article in the Miami Herald in late 2006, I detailed that the group of mothers taking breaks for work in the greatest numbers are Hispanic mothers of infants. In the Hispanic culture, the value of family is huge and the desire to be a hands-on parent is strong, experts told me.The trend has big implications in Miami-Dade County, where about 60 percent of new mothers are Hispanic.  Combine that with the fact that the economy has been hit hard in Miami and it makes a lot of sense that a larger number of mothers here would be out of the workforce.

   Now, the question should be, is it by choice? Your thoughts?