coronavirus pandemic

About 275,000 Women Left Workforce in January in ‘Critical' Pandemic Trend, Experts Say

“The consequences for women could take years to recover from, and we don't have years to wait. Families don't have years to wait,” one expert said

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Even though there is still volatility in the U.S. economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the consistent theme is still the outsized impact on women, economic experts said.

The January jobs report would seem to continue to bear that out. Some 275,000 women left the workforce last month, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with 71,000 men. And women make up more than half of the 7 million people considered “out of the workforce” in the report — who aren’t counted as unemployed — but who currently want to work. Overall, nearly 2.4 million women have exited the workforce since last February, compared with less than 1.8 million men.

The continued disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on working women will have lasting impacts on the nation's economy, said Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

“Their productivity, their participation in the workforce is felt in our GDP. These are not just niche issues, these are actually issues that are critical to our economic growth,” she said. “We know and have known long before the pandemic that women are increasingly integral to the economic security of their families.”

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