How Unemployment is Affecting Women
Hcareers / MARCH 08 2021

In 2020, women made up just over half of the hospitality industry, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 50.4% of the overall leisure and hospitality industry and 51.8% of the accommodations workforce being women. 

Women are also greatly affected by the current unemployment situation the United States is facing. 

How is unemployment affecting women?

The leisure and hospitality industry is still facing one of the highest unemployment rates since April of 2020 when we first saw the effects of COVID-19. It is currently at 15.9%, which has considerably decreased from the 39.3% we saw at the height of COVID. 

With so much of the hospitality industry being women, they are also greatly being affected by the elevated unemployment rate. In December, women accounted for 57% of the 49,800 hospitality jobs that were lost in the hospitality industry according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

The overall unemployment rate for women 20 years and over in January 2021 was at 6.0% which was a slight decrease from the 6.3% reported in December 2020. Overall, there are 53.6% women 20 years and over employed across all industries compared to 65.5% men.

In January 2021, African American women are facing an 8.5% unemployment rate, and Hispanic or Latino women are facing 8.8% unemployment. Women, 16 to 64 years old, who have a disability are currently facing 11.3% unemployment.

38.6% of the women who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been out of work for 6 months or longer, 40.8% for African American women, and 44% for Asian women. 

275,000 women left the U.S. labor force in January, meaning they stopped working or looking for work. Overall, 80%, or 2.3 million, of all U.S. adults who stopped working or looking for work are women. 

Why are so many women leaving the workforce or facing unemployment?

One of the major factors affecting women in the workforce is childcare. With schools and daycares staying closed or having part-time in-person schedules, children are staying at home more, meaning at least one parent has to stay home as well, and with women typically earning less than their male counterparts, they find themselves staying home more. 

Another reason is, with women making up large portions of the hospitality jobs faced the most unemployment. In 2018. Women made up 84.7% of housekeeping positions, 70% of waiters and waitress positions, and 58.1% of bartenders versus 14% of hospitality leadership positions.  

Finally, the longer that you are unemployed, the harder it becomes to find a new opportunity. As mentioned above, 38.6% of women overall have been unemployed for 6 months or longer, and even higher rates for women of color. 

As we continue to get the public vaccinated, hospitality companies will see reservations and bookings pick back up, and then a need to rehire more workers will pick up as well. With women making up a large part of the hospitality workforce, there will be many opportunities available for those who are willing and able to return to work, so don’t give up!