COVID-19

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

Nancy Marshall-Genzer May 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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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
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

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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