The Covid-19 Economy Is Disproportionately Affecting Black Women
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States rose as of Wednesday for a third straight day, with more than 62,000 new cases reported, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Kate Smith of CBS News reports that black women continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting higher rates of lost income, food insecurity, and missed housing payments.
Women and the Covid Economy
Economic uncertainty and job losses have disproportionately impacted women since the onset of the pandemic. Between February and April, 12.1 million women lost their employment, accounting for 55% of all coronavirus-related job losses, according to calculations made by the National Women’s Law Center using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the economy has begun to inch back and communities reopen, women accounted for two-thirds of the jobs added in July, but 44.2% of those jobs were in leisure/hospitality and retail — work that often requires in-person contact with guests and clients, placing employees at a higher risk of exposure to the virus.
Many women have stopped looking for work. In August and September, 1.1 million people dropped out of the labor force, meaning they’ve either left their job or stopped looking for employment. Of those, 865,000 were women, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
Since March, 57.1% of Hispanic women and 53.6% Black women say they’ve lost income, according to a NWLC study conducted in August and released by the National Women’s Law Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on policy and litigation. That’s compared to about 41% among White men and women. More than 1 in 6 Black and Hispanic women reported not having enough food in the past week — more than double the rate of White or Asian American women, according to the study.
Among renters, nearly a quarter of Black women and just over 15% of Hispanic women said they’re behind in rent payments, compared to about 11% of White men and women. And about 16% of Black women and 13% of Hispanic women homeowners say they’ve missed a mortgage payment, compared to about 7% of White homeowners, according to data compiled by the NWLC.
Job losses have been particularly high among women of color. As of September, the unemployment rate among Black women was 11.1%, compared to 6.9% among White women and 6.5% among White men, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.