Women rebounding into labor force at higher rates than men

After losing 2 million more jobs than men in the first months of the pandemic, women are rejoining the labor force at higher rates than their male counterparts, The Washington Post reported Feb. 12. 

Women's labor force participation rates are up 3.4 percentage points from their lowest point in April 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Men's participation rates are up 2.1 percentage points from the same time period. 

During the fall of 2021, when most schools were back in session, women who had been out to care for their children began taking jobs again. Rising costs have accelerated their return, as more families require a second source of income to keep pace. 

Women between the ages of 25 and 54 with both college degrees and children are returning to work at the quickest rates — employers' increased flexibility and remote work offerings have allowed them to bounce back to full-time roles without sacrificing their families' day-to-day. 

"Women not only suffered disproportionately from job losses and work displacement early in the pandemic, but they were also most affected by child-care disruptions," Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter, told the Post. "There was legitimate concern that there would be substantial labor-market scarring for women — that women who stayed home for a full year to care for their children while schools were closed, would not be able to find employment again. But that doesn't seem to be the case."


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