Even though there is still volatility in the U.S. economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the consistent theme is still the outsized impact on women, economic experts said.
The January jobs report would seem to continue to bear that out. Some 275,000 women left the workforce last month, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with 71,000 men. And women make up more than half of the 7 million people considered “out of the workforce” in the report — who aren’t counted as unemployed — but who currently want to work. Overall, nearly 2.4 million women have exited the workforce since last February, compared with less than 1.8 million men.
The continued disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on working women will have lasting impacts on the nation’s economy, said Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
“Their productivity, their participation in the workforce is felt in our GDP. These are not just niche issues, these are actually issues that are critical to our economic growth,” she said. “We know and have known long before the pandemic that women are increasingly integral to the economic security of their families.”
Frye said when she looks at the January jobs numbers, “I think it shows that this is a slow recovery. It’s not happening anytime soon.”
“The consequences for women could take years to recover from, and we don’t have years to wait. Families don’t have years to wait,” she said.
Early into the pandemic, the ensuing recession had been dubbed a “she-cession” as millions of women were among the first to lose work as the coronavirus shut down the service sector and squeezed government budgets. Women also account for more than 50 percent of the 5,318,000 jobs lost since February 2020, according to data from the statistics bureau. While women gained 87,000 jobs in January, they are still far behind men in returning to pre-pandemic employment levels. In fact, in December the economy saw a decrease of 140,000 jobs, with women accounting for all of the job losses at 156,000, while men gained 16,000 jobs.
The pandemic has also forced many women to choose between caring for their children at home and working, as childcare options dried up and schools went virtual.
“The choices are stark,” Frye said.
Last month, job losses continued to batter the food and bar industry, where women make up 49 percent of entry-level service jobs, according to McKinsey & Company. Food and bar services lost 19,000 jobs last month while leisure and hospitality has lost 597,000 jobs over the past two months, according to the statistics bureau. Retail, where about half of workers are women, has lost 383,000 jobs since February 2020. Healthcare jobs are also down by 542,000 since before the pandemic.
Women of color, who are more likely to have service sector or government jobs, have been hit the hardest by pandemic joblessness.
Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for…
Go to the news source: About 275,000 women left workforce in January in ‘critical’ pandemic trend, expe…