Thursday, September 17, 2020

Women in Oregon Experiencing Higher Unemployment Rates than Men During COVID-19 Pandemic

Since public health measures were enacted to curtail the spread of COVID-19, Oregon has seen an unprecedented and devastating impact on the economy. Business practices have been curtailed in nearly every industry as businesses adhere to social distancing measures. Unfortunately, the impact of these changes are being felt unequally among Oregonians. Women in particular are feeling the effects of business layoffs, closures, and curtailed operations through higher rates of unemployment.

At the peak of the economic expansion, in February 2020, unemployment rates for men and women were similar at 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. By April, as businesses began adapting to the social distancing measures enacted in March, unemployment rates for women shot up 2.7 percentage points higher than men. This left women with an unemployment rate of 16.3 percent and men with a rate of 13.6 percent. This is likely because healthcare and social assistance (75% women), educational services (66%), and accommodation and food services (54%), three large industries that were heavily curtailed by COVID-19, are made up mostly of women
Since April, the gap between women and men's unemployment rates has decreased slightly to 2.1 percentage points as the economy continues to reopen and overall unemployment rates drop. As of August 2020, men have an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent and women 8.8 percent.

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