Despite job gains in the United States, many women remain on the margins of the labor market

Many workers displaced by last year’s pandemic, especially women, have yet to re-enter the workforce, acting as a drag on stronger job growth. And some women who have returned have been unable to stay on because the Delta variant of Covid-19 has raised fears and scrambled childcare plans. In September, women lost 26,000 salaried jobs.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% last month from 5.2% in August, the Labor Department said, but added just 194,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain since December 2020. From many workers, especially women, left the labor market last month, resulting in a smaller labor pool and lowering the unemployment rate.

Many people shun the job market for fear of catching the coronavirus, according to an August survey by job search site Indeed. Other factors include parents unwilling to work outside their homes at a time when Covid outbreaks have pushed some classes into quarantine and led to temporary school closures, and daycares are staffed. limit. For others, the pandemic has caused some to re-evaluate the choice between working and staying out of the workforce to care for family members.

The slowdown in labor market growth is particularly visible among women, whose participation in the labor market has declined among both older and younger people.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates 2.6 million Americans retired during the pandemic.

Not only are women responsible for this decline, but they are more likely to be so-called marginally attached workers — those who are not in the labor force but want to work, are available for work and had sought employment. employment for some time in the previous year.

While more men belong to this group overall, more women want a job, but they are not looking for one for personal reasons, such as school and family obligations, health problems or a lack of transport.

The number of women who say they want a job but are not looking for one has increased since the pandemic began early last year, but the number of men in that position has declined.

The number of inactive people who cited the pandemic as their reason for not looking for work increased last month for the first time since January, reaching 1.6 million.

It’s a sign that fears of the Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of Covid-19, are preventing people from taking jobs. Many women, especially those aged 25 to 54, have been deterred from seeking employment by the pandemic.

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