Two months shy of our one-year quarantinaversary, we continue to grapple with layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone in the country is well aware of the economic disaster that has preceded us. With parents figuring out remote learning, working from home, and keeping their job, these are times in which even the strongest are suffering.
According to U.S. government data, over the last month, 140,000 people lost their jobs. Which ‘people’ may you ask? According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center, they were all women.
On the contrary, 16,000 men gained employment, according to the NWLC. The report drew up an astonishing conclusion: Women accounted for 111 percent of job losses in December.
Without a doubt, these statistics weigh heavily on women of color. Since the beginning of the pandemic, NWLC counted 154,000 Black women leaving the workforce up until December. Black women who were 20 or older made up 8.4 percent of the unemployment rate.
Even before the pandemic, the percentage of unemployed Black women in that age group was 4.9 percent in February 2020. Latinas accounted for 9.1 percent of unemployment in the same age group. In November, they made up 8.2 percent.
The jarring numbers get worse. When the NWLC looked at the span of the last six months, 38.6 percent of women who were 16 and older were not working for a minimum of six months.
The total loss of jobs among women since February 2020? According to NWLC, 5.4 million jobs.
Unsurprisingly, white women did not have the same unemployment statistics as women of color, according to CNN.
These numbers are due to the second or even third wave of Covid-19. The most affected production was those where women predominantly held positions: this entailed retail, restaurant work, caregiving, government work, and health care.
The vice-president of NWLC education and workplace justice division, Emily Martin, told Fortune, “If you are in a low-wage service-sector job, you’re not able to work from home and try to take care of your kids in between conference calls. Those are jobs where, if you have a caregiving crisis, you may just have to leave the workforce entirely.”
The resurgence of unemployment did not come as a surprise to Martin, as she predicted another spike in cases would make those same industries vulnerable once again, shutting things down.
The pandemic has created a recession we will long suffer from, especially women. The biggest danger, for Martin, is the fact that the pandemic and women of color losing their jobs is “widening gender and racial wage gaps.”