Perla Pimentel was one of the first economic casualties. She worked as an event coordinator in Orlando, helping to arrange group meetings in the tourist mecca.
Six weeks ago, groups that were planning meetings in Florida began to cancel, as concerns about the coronavirus mounted. By the middle of March, Pimentel was out of a job.
Since then, millions of people across the country have been laid off, as Americans were ordered to hunker down and wait out the pandemic. Central Florida, with its heavy reliance on tourism, has been especially hard hit.
“It feels like everybody you know is either out of a job or is one degree of separation,” Pimentel said.
Two weeks after she was laid off, Pimentel’s father lost his job as a transportation contractor for Disney World. The warehouse where her mom works has also begun to furlough employees. For now, only her brother has a dependable paycheck.
“My brother actually works as a pizza delivery person,” Pimentel said. “He’s doing pretty well, as you can imagine. A lot of people are ordering out.”
When Americans started staying home in droves last month, restaurants, bars, and hotels were among the first to feel the squeeze. Because women make up the bulk of the workforce in those industries, the pink slips so far have been especially pink.
Just three months ago, women had overtaken men to capture a majority of the jobs on U.S. company payrolls. With job losses in March falling disproportionately on women, they’re now back in the minority, albeit just barely.