The Gendered Impact of the COVID-19 Recession on the US Labor Market
The economic crisis associated with the emergence of the novel corona virus is unlike standard recessions. Demand for workers in high contact and inflexible service occupations has declined, while parental supply of labor has been reduced by lack of access to reliable child care and in-person schooling options. This has led to a substantial and persistent drop in employment and labor force participation for women, who are typically less affected by recessions than men. We examine real time data on employment, unemployment, labor force participation and gross job flows to document the gendered impact of the pandemic. We also discuss the potential long-term implications of this crisis, including the role of automation in depressing the recovery of employment for the worst hit service occupations.
We are grateful to Nicholas Fleming for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.