COVID & Unemployment

Women are looking for jobs, but will they be able to find them?

Justin Ho Apr 20, 2021
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Researchers from the New York Federal Reserve found that the number of people seeking work increased between November and March, and the Fed says that increase was primarily driven by women entering the job market. recep-bg via Getty Images
COVID & Unemployment

Women are looking for jobs, but will they be able to find them?

Justin Ho Apr 20, 2021
Heard on:
Researchers from the New York Federal Reserve found that the number of people seeking work increased between November and March, and the Fed says that increase was primarily driven by women entering the job market. recep-bg via Getty Images
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New data this week offered some encouraging signs about women and the labor force. Researchers from the New York Federal Reserve found that the number of people seeking work increased between November and March, and the Fed says that increase was primarily driven by women entering the job market.

Women have borne the brunt of job losses caused by COVID-19 “largely because they were employed in industries that had the most work closures,” including hospitality, leisure, retail and social services, said Yana Rodgers at the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. “And these are precisely now the jobs that are rebounding.”

We still have millions of jobs to make up for, said labor economist Betsey Stevenson at the University of Michigan. She said many women looking for jobs might have trouble finding a job, especially if they can’t return to the industry they used to work in.

“The businesses might have shut down. The entire industry or sector may have shrunk,” Stevenson said.

She said this could be especially challenging for women in their 50s and 60s who lost their jobs during the pandemic and may have a harder time finding new ones.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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