More women left the workforce in September than did jobs in the economy.
- In September, a large number of women left the labor force, meaning they were not actively looking for work or employment.
- According to the latest jobs report, 309,000 women aged 209 and over quit their jobs last month.
- Experts say it is due to inaccessible childcare and epidemics.
Delta variations, a chaotic school season, and childcare issues have created another frustrating month for women’s employment. In September, millions of women left the labor force altogether last month, while men returned.
The United States gained 194,000 non-farm payrolls last month, less than the estimated 500,000. According to a business establishment survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women lost 26,000 jobs in September.
“If you look at the economy, women are not returning to the workforce as strongly as we would like, or as needed to grow the economy,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo told Insider. “And it’s clear that the first reason is that women are still struggling to care for high quality, stable, affordable children.”
As can be seen in the chart below, while 182,000 men aged 20 and over joined the labor force in September, 309,000 women aged 209 and over left the labor force. This means that they were not working or were actively looking for work.
Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center, told Insider she was not surprised by the number, and actually thought it could be even higher.
Tucker said many schools do not offer remote learning options and there are concerns about the Delta variety, “that there is another wave of labor force leaving.” “It’s no surprise that it’s going to fall on women’s shoulders,” she said.
In fact, September is the biggest drop in labor force participation for women this year – and the National Women’s Law Center notes it’s the biggest drop since September 2020.
The following chart shows how labor force participation differs between men and women:
Betsy Stevenson, a former top economist under President Barack Obama, wrote. Twitter “The increase in women’s employment has hampered every rehabilitation and its growth in women’s employment, which has almost stalled and slowed down our rehabilitation.”
This can be seen while looking at the great.
, Where women returned to pre-crisis employment compared to men. The following chart shows how job recovery for men and women so far has looked during epidemics and compares it to recovery from the Great Depression.
In February 2020, women’s employment was 3.59 percent below that level.
Investing in childcare and paid leave can help alleviate the situation.
Tucker said there are things the United States and employers can do to make women and parents more involved in the labor force. These include investments in childcare infrastructure, access to paid leave for all parents, and “strengthening workplace safety.”
“We need to make it so that women can afford to go back to work,” Tucker said. “We need to raise the minimum wage. We need job security, we need to pave the way for unions so that these jobs are good quality jobs.”
The good news is that childcare services added 17,800 jobs in September, down 10.4% from pre-epidemic levels. But the care of many children is still inaccessible.
“It’s expensive, and many women can’t afford it,” Raymondo said. “It really prevents them from fully participating in the labor force. They don’t take all the hours. They don’t work full time. They don’t go for promotion and that has a huge impact on the economy.”
As Tucker summed it up: “If you’re not doing enough to pay for your child’s care, you probably won’t go back to work.”