Job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on millions of Americans and their families. At least 22 million people have found themselves out of work due to the pandemic, with many experts comparing the economic devastation from these job losses to the Great Depression.
Research has shown that the people facing the greatest challenges during this time are lower-income Americans, people of color and women, all of whom are experiencing the highest rates of job loss, looming evictions and more.
And with the release of last month’s jobs numbers, stark inequality in our country has never been more evident. In December 2020, every job lost was a job held by a woman.
Yes, you read that right: According to numbers released by the Labor Department, we lost 140,000 jobs in December, and every single one of those jobs was held by a woman.
On the other hand, we gained 16,000 jobs … and every single one of those jobs was given to a man.
What can account for these shocking statistics that are divided so severely along gender lines?
Experts say that the currently high rate of unemployment among women is because women often find themselves in higher-risk industries that have been more susceptible to the harsh impact of the pandemic.
These include jobs in healthcare, social services, education, hospitality and leisure industries — jobs that not only come with a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, but that have also experienced a higher rate of layoffs due to the pandemic. These jobs also come with a higher risk of mental health complications.
While women overall are losing jobs and economic stability at a much higher rate than men, Black women and Latinx women are suffering even more so than white women. Overwhelmingly, the data shows that women of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and December’s job numbers prove that this distressing trend continues.