By Lauren Wolfe
8 April 2020
As the economy continued to tank amid the coronavirus pandemic, job losses rose to more than 700,000 in the month of March—and women were disproportionately affected.
Out of every 10 jobs cut in March, women lost six of them, reported the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Hispanic women in particular are suffering; their unemployment rate rose to 6 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics.
Across almost all sectors, but particularly leisure and hospitality—in which women hold the majority of jobs—women are feeling the brunt of the hit. With a nearly countrywide lockdown, people aren’t taking trips or going out to eat: Women’s jobs in restaurants, bars, and hotels dropped by 261,000, while men lost 181,000. The sector accounted for more than half of all jobs lost in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The industry had employed nearly 17 million people by the end of 2019. About 30 percent of hotel workers were Hispanic, CNN reported.
Unlike now, men were laid off first during the 2008 recession because of cuts to production sectors (including manufacturing and construction), said C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of IWPR.
“This time around, because women are over-represented in the service sector, they will experience disproportionately higher unemployment and job loss compared to men,” Mason said. Service-sector jobs generally offer lower wages and fewer benefits, “which makes women more economically vulnerable.”
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