Women Lost the Most Jobs but Rebounded Faster
Under the first three years of Donald Trump's presidency, more women than ever before in American history were part of the workforce. More women were managers, CEOs and owners of their own businesses. Due to a series of tax breaks and various incentives, a lot more manufacturing jobs returned to the USA, and many thousands of women actually started businesses working directly with these industries. Though, of course, everyone knows the rest of the story: 2020 reared its ugly head and tens of millions of people lost their jobs, including many of the women who had just got started in the workforce.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the number-one group affected by layoffs and businesses shuttering was women. Economic experts claim that they expected this. One economist wrote on The Street, a news site, that "Women were the ones getting most of the new jobs, so it only stands to reason that they would also be the ones losing them." So it wasn't exactly a shock that women lost more jobs. What's shocking is that they're also now leading the charge in getting them back, as we see far more men filing unemployment claims and more and more women returning to work, even during the global pandemic.
So, why wasn't this a shock to economists? It's all about the data. In the past six recessions to hit the United States, men were the most affected in terms of layoffs because they made up the bulk of the workforce. Now, this isn't because they were men. It's purely a numbers game. If there are more people named John working than Mike, then more Johns will lose their jobs than Mikes. It's as simple as that. So when this recession hit, women were the majority of the workforce, so economists knew that they would be the ones losing their jobs during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In April of 2020, the height of the crisis, men's unemployment rate was at 14.25%, which is a fantastically large number of men who were unemployed. Women, however, blew this number out of the water, unfortunately, and had an unemployment rate of 17.89%.
Why did women lose their jobs in the first place? It's really all about the hospitality industry. Women are disproportionately holding jobs like waitresses and hostesses and hotel and cleaning jobs. When the nation panicked and most states shut down, the restaurants and hotels and other industries also shut down. However, most of these businesses still existed; their closures were only temporary. So, when they opened back up, they accepted the women back with open arms. We started to see this very early on, when states like Georgia and Texas reopened long before others and were criticized. But while they took a big risk with the virus, they saved millions of women from going hungry and losing their homes and falling into debt. Once these industries opened back up, women were put back to work.
Men, on the other hand, are still suffering more because of their jobs in construction and plumbing and maintenance and mechanics; basically working in industries that, even if open, are not doing great business because people are no longer worried about a new shower install or getting minor automobile issues fixed. This is really slowing down the progress of men's employment in a big way.
The Overall Picture
Women have seriously rebounded. As of August, which is the latest jobs report we have, women's unemployment went from nearly 18% to 9%, meaning roughly 50% of those women got their jobs back or found new employment. In the bigger overall picture, this is fantastic news, and it goes to show that the jobs women work are deemed more essential to America than the jobs men work.
The best news here is that the rate is 9% for men also. Not as many men got their jobs back, nor as quickly, but the fact of the matter is that more and more Americans are finally getting back to work, regardless of gender, age or race. Even as bad as Covid-19 smacked America, Americans held strong and are now bouncing back in a big way.
Economists were preaching the end of the world, and millions of Americans were panicked when the overall unemployment rate went from around 4-5% in March to over 14% in April. As of right now, things are looking a whole lot better, and women have played a tremendous role in this.