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By the Numbers: Women in the Pandemic Workforce

The pandemic has hit women in the workforce particularly hard. Participation of women in the workforce is at its lowest rate since 1988 due to a combination of factors, from school closures to women-dominated industries such as hospitality suffering most during COVID, according to a Feb. 14 report from NPR. 

A by-the-numbers look at women in the pandemic workforce:

12.1 million jobs

Women lost 12.1 million jobs between February 2020 and April 2020.

2 in 5

More than 2 in 5 of those jobs had not yet returned by the end of 2020.


Women account for 55 percent of overall net job loss since the start of the pandemic.


28 percent of unemployed women with children (25-55) cite care for children out of school/day care as the reason.

-2.3% and -1.7%

The labor participation rate of women with children fell 2.3 percent from February 2020 to January 2021. Comparatively, the labor participation rate of women without children fell 1.7 percent during the same timeframe.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and IPUMS USA, cited in a January 2021 report from the National Women’s Law Center and a March 8 Gallop report.