Women's History Month: As COVID-19 rebound continues, most new jobs going to men

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, women left the workforce at a greater rate than men -- and it looks like many aren't returning. Michelle Charlesworth has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, women left the workforce at a greater rate than men -- and it looks like many aren't returning.

Most of the nation's 6.6 million jobs gained since President Joe Biden took office have gone to men, according to the Labor Department.

As of early February, there were still 1.4 million fewer employed adult woman in the workforce compared to 500,000 fewer adult men.

Simply put, women left the workforce early on in the pandemic at greater rates than men, and they have been more reluctant to return.

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Not surprisingly, hardest hit were women in high-stress, low-pay service jobs such as child care and nursing.

"The pandemic whacked women, especially the lesser educated, they're the ones that took the brunt," said Richard Fry, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. "When you go into you look among the lesser educated portions of the labor force, it's clear that women have taken a much bigger hit than less-educated men."

Particularly vulnerable were Black women.

According to the National Women's Law Center, unemployment rates dropped or remained the same for almost every race or ethnicity except Black women, with an unemployment rate of almost double that of white Americans.

Meanwhile, while many other groups were joining the labor force in February, 31,000 Black women left.

Parenting appears to be a factor, too.

According to one analysis, women with children were three times as likely to lose their jobs early on in the pandemic compared to fathers.

While there's no doubt that female caregivers have been hit harder in the pandemic, the current job market also is a golden opportunity for many higher-skilled women, according to Emily Dickens, chief of staff and head of government affairs the Society for Human Resource Management.

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Faced with a worker shortage, many employers are scrambling to find skilled employees and are willing to entertain flexibility they weren't before.

Dickens says women should jump now if they are considering getting a new job.

"You've got to voice what your demands are on the front end and this is the opportunity to do it," she said. "This window is going to close."

(ABC News contributed to this report)


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