Friday, May 22, 2020
The unemployment numbers released on Friday confirmed what we had all anticipated: The economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is staggering, or as one research analyst at Bank of America put it to The Times, “literally off the charts.”
The scale of the crisis is unlike anything since the Great Depression. And for the first time in decades, this crisis has a predominantly nonwhite, female face.
“I think we should go ahead and call this a ‘shecession,’” said C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in a nod to the 2008 recession that came to be known as the “mancession” because more men were affected.
Women accounted for 55 percent of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, raising the unemployment rate for adult women to about 15 percent from 3.1 percent in February. In comparison, the unemployment rate for adult men was 13 percent.Women of color fared worse, with unemployment rates for black women at 16.4 percent and Hispanic women at 20.2 percent.According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center, this is the first time since 1948 that the femaleunemployment rate has reached double digits.
The April jobs represent an abrupt, disappointing reversal from a major milestone in December, when women held more payroll jobs than men for the first time in about a decade.
The biggest reason for these losses is that the industries hardest hit by the pandemic — leisure, hospitality, education and even some parts of health care — are “disproportionately nonwhite and female,” said Diane Lim, senior adviser for the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan research initiative.