While women have always been statistically less likely to take control of their finances or increase their financial literacy, pandemic impacts have certainly compounded the problem.
Single women and women of color, in particular, have faced unemployment setbacks since the beginning of lockdown and stay-at-home orders in the spring of 2020.
As communities shut down last spring to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, women felt the financial shock immediately. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that women accounted for 55% of job losses in April 2020. Later that year, BLS issued a report confirming that the recession had a more significant impact on women.
More than a year later, women continue to leave the workforce due to limitations created by the pandemic. In December 2020, women accounted for 86.3 percent of all job losses.
Some news outlets have observed that the total job loss for women has undone some of the significant workforce gains made since the 1970s and 80s. One Fortune reporter wrote in February 2021 that:
“Working women have now lost more than three decades of labor force gains in less than a year.”
In addition, women of color have experienced an even sharper employment decline, according to BLS statistics:
Across demographics, women continue to face workforce challenges that could place them at a disadvantage.
The effects of this historic job loss will follow many women over time. While many will return to the workforce, a significant percentage will accept lower-paying or part-time positions and struggle to regain their previous income or employment levels.
As reported in this piece by GMA:
“When women do leave the workforce, whether because they lose their jobs or take time out for personal or family reasons such as childcare, they return to a trajectory of decreased pay over the course of their careers.”
As of June last year, 52% of women had already experienced these changes to their employment:
Those shifts could result in smaller retirement funds for women over the course of their careers as they place short-term spending priorities over long-term financial planning.
Single women also lose Social Security and other savings opportunities without a partner’s income to rely on. Unpartnered women also feel a more desperate need to find a job, regardless of pay, hours or benefits, so could return to work at a disadvantage.
In addition, workforce changes for women affect the overall economy in addition to individuals and families.
For women who want to improve their employment status and financial position, here are a few places to begin:
When you take control of your financial education, you feel more empowered to set realistic savings and retirement goals.
Whether you need a few hours of debt and retirement planning or a complete financial plan, reach out to me for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call. I can also place you in touch with other professionals who can help with budgeting and caregiver assistance services.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.