Vast numbers of women and people of color were driven out of the economy at the height of the pandemic. In all, the National Women’s Law Center says that women’s jobs currently make up 88.0% of the 822,000 net jobs lost in the pandemic
So we’re happy to see some good news: as the economy picks up, almost 400,000 women joined the labor force in May—and women of color led the charge.
“May showed promising signs for women’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” MSNBC reported. “An estimated 397,000 women entered the labor force last month, bumping women’s participation rate to 58.3%, just one percentage point below their pre-pandemic labor force participation rate.”
In all, women gained nearly half of all the new positions created in May. That includes about 176,000 Black women, 135,000 Latinas, and 134,000 women of Asian descent.
Good News But Real Problems
This is significant progress, but there’s still a long way to go. The National Women’s Law Center estimates that it would take nearly four months of job reports like this for women to have fully recovered the jobs they lost during the pandemic.
Also a problem: most of the economic recovery for women has been driven by new jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector — jobs that tend to have higher turnover, lower wages, unpredictable schedules, and fewer benefits.
At the same time, the tech industry has become even less welcoming to women:
- Women in tech are nearly twice as likely as men to have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic,
- 47 percent of the women in tech surveyed believe that the effects of COVID-19 have delayed their career progression due to family or home pressures, and
- 57% of women in tech said they felt burned out at work due to the pandemic, as opposed to only 36% of men.
Educational Equity Is A Real Solution
We’ve seen for some time that while there is an economic recovery happening, it is unevenly distributed. It is mostly happening for the college educated, and it is happening a lot slower for women, and in particular for women of color.
This is bad for women, and bad for the economy as a whole. One part of the solution: make sure women who want to have access to new job markets and better careers can get the training they need.
There is opportunity coming as employers have a harder and harder time finding qualified candidates for great jobs in fields like information technology, cybersecurity, and health care. These are all fields that require college level training, but not necessarily a college degree, to enter.
By providing easy access to the right training for in-demand, high quality jobs, with no strings attached, Calbright believes we can connect those struggling with the economic recovery to the industries that are looking to hire, improving the outcomes for everyone.