A century ago, half of all women employed outside the home in the United States were domestic workers. Today that figure has shriveled to 2.6 percent -- a bit over 1 million domestic workers out of 40 million employed women, according to an article in the Monthly Labor Review -- as women have increasingly found work in sales, office work, manufacturing and the professions. Of the 1 million domestic workers, about a third are black, and most of them are employed as cleaners and servants. In contrast, nearly three-fifths of the white domestic workers are employed as babysitters and child-care workers, a large portion of them teenagers. Average weekly earnings for domestic workers employed full-time (only about a third are) was $89 a week in 1979. The black hourly average of $2.68 actually was higher than the white average $2.13, primarily because of the high proportion of low-paid teen babysitters among whites. The article said household workers were frequently paid less than the legal minimim wage of $2.90 and hour in 1979, sometimes because of ignorance of the law on the part of the employe and employer, but often because the employe agreed to work for less in order to have a job.