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All of December’s job losses were held by women, says Labor Department data

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Posted at 3:02 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 17:02:10-05

Data released from the Labor Department showed the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in the month of December, and it appears women accounted for all of the job losses.

For the month of December, the data show men overall gained 16,000 jobs, while women lost 156,000, for a total loss to the economy for that month of 140,000.

Not just women, minority women. The data shows Black and Hispanic women lost jobs in December, while white women gained. In December, Hispanic women have the highest unemployment rate at 9.1%, followed by Black women at 8.4%, with white women at 5.7%. The data does not break out other racial or ethnic identities in unemployment rates.

Overall, the unemployment rate in this country in December was 6.7%.

For months, analysts and economists have been pointing to the number of women leaving the workforce, for two main reasons. Women, and especially women of color, disproportionately work in some of the hardest-hit areas of the economy like retail, restaurants, education and hospitality.

Second, women have been more likely than men to leave a job to stay home with kids who are remote learning or whose daycare has closed.

"Those sectors are less likely to have flexibility, so when employers are inflexible or women can't come to work because of caregiving responsibilities — they have to exit the workforce," C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, told CNN.

December’s Labor statistics were a blow to the economy, after analysts had expected small gains the report showed a huge drop. This was the first time since April that U.S. employers overall cut jobs.

In April, 22 million jobs were cut, and according to the December jobs report, the economy still has 9.9 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.

Of those 9.9 million jobs that have not returned since February, the Labor Department says roughly 5.4 million were held by women and 4.4 million were held by men.