Women have been particularly affected by the upheaval from the pandemic and many have left the workforce and frequently not by choice.
There has been a lot of media coverage about the “Great Resignation,” the moniker that is being used to describe the economic upheaval of the pandemic and the reallocation occurring in the economy for both employers and employees. We are experiencing a disconnected employment environment resulting from the pandemic and many are reassessing their career selections by choice or necessity.
Women have been particularly affected by the upheaval from the pandemic and many have left the workforce and frequently not by choice. According to The Washington Post, in January 2020 before the pandemic, “For just the second time, women outnumbered men in the U.S. paid workforce, with their new majority buoyed by fast job growth in health care and education over the past year, as well as the tight labor market.” Progress was being made, but now women must deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
There has been some job recovery for women in 2021, with the August 2021 unemployment rate for women at 4.8%, but it has been slow progress, and women’s participation in the workforce remains well below pre-pandemic levels. According to the National Women’s Law Center September 2021 report, as of August 2021’s rate of employment for women, women will need almost 9 straight years of job gains at that rate to recover the jobs lost since February 2020!
Further, reported unemployment rates do not include people who have left the workforce entirely –these people are no longer counted as unemployed. The women’s labor participation rate of 57.4% in August 2021 remains well below the pre-pandemic participation rate of 59.2% in February 2020 and it has not been as low since December 1988!! If the women who have left the labor force since February 2020 were included in the unemployed, women’s unemployment in August 2021 would have been 6.9%.
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