COVID-19

Job losses indicate we are in a “she-cession”

Nancy Marshall-Genzer May 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Two servers at a reopened restaurant in Las Vegas. The jobs that have been lost recently, like servers and retail clerks, are mostly done by women. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
COVID-19

Job losses indicate we are in a “she-cession”

Nancy Marshall-Genzer May 28, 2020
Two servers at a reopened restaurant in Las Vegas. The jobs that have been lost recently, like servers and retail clerks, are mostly done by women. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Labor Department said Thursday that another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment last week. And most of the workers who lost their jobs last month were women — 55%, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Think about the job losses right now. Clerks at retailers, restaurant servers, office assistants. This is work done mostly by women. And these jobs aren’t all coming back. Forty-two-year-old Adriana Lona lost her event-planning position at a nonprofit near Chicago.

“Given everything that happened, I would most likely have to give up that role, yes,” Lona said.

Industries that mostly employ men — think manufacturing, construction — haven’t lost as many jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the exact opposite of what happened during the 2008 financial crisis. Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center, said that was called a “man-cession.”

“Construction stopped happening on new homes. We saw a lot of production and manufacturing halting. That’s also a male-dominated job,” Tucker said.

According to her research, we’re in a she-cession. And women could have a harder time getting back into the workforce than men did after the Great Recession — especially women who have kids. Like Amy Gergely, in upstate New York. She lost her tech job in mid-March and is now the primary caregiver and home schooler for her 8-year-old son.

“And I really don’t know how that will pan out when I’m looking for a full-time job,” she said.

Some new jobs are being created right now, according to Andrew Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“The jobs that are being added tend to be on the back end — on the supply chain, logistics, in the warehouses,” he said.

But that work is mainly done by men.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

Read More

Collapse

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.