COVID-19

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

Nancy Marshall-Genzer May 28, 2020
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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
Heard on:
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
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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

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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