865,000 women left the workforce in September, analysis finds

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on the U.S. female workforce, with 865,000 women leaving the job market in September compared to 216,000 men during the same month, according to an analysis by the National Women's Law Center. 

The analysis comes on the heels of the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report showed the U.S. added 661,000 jobs in September, marking the fifth consecutive month of gains, but a decrease from 1.4 million jobs added in August and 1.8 million jobs added in July. The unemployment rate also fell to 7.9 percent in September, compared to 8.4 percent in August and 10.2 percent in July. 

Although the U.S. saw job gains and a lower unemployment rate last month, only about half of women's jobs lost between February and April have returned, according to the analysis, which analyzed bureau data. 

The analysis also found 865,000 women, including 324,000 Latinas and 58,000 Black women, left the labor force in September (no longer working or looking for work). That is 80 percent of the more than 1.1 million U.S. workers age 20 and older who left the job market last month and four times more than the number of men who dropped out during that period.

Stefania Albanesi, PhD, an economics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, told The New York Times the gender earnings gap is a large factor in women's decision to leave the workforce. Dr. Albanesi also told the publication that when the caregiving burden increases in a dual-income household, the lower wage earner sometimes leaves the workforce, and in these households, that it most often a woman.

Access the full analysis here. Read the full Times report here


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