Unemployment amid coronavirus shutdowns hitting women harder than men

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nationwide, unemployment among women is substantially higher at 15.5-percent compared to 13-percent for men.

Women make up the majority of the workforce, which means their finances really are taking a particularly heavy hit from the COVID-19 shutdown. As our 6abc data shows us, that is the case in a number of key industries.

Laura DeLuca of Warrington, Pennsylvania is on furlough from her job as a restaurant manager. So is everyone else she worked with, including cooks, serving staff, and hosts and she said most of them are women and many came to her with questions.

"You know how to file for unemployment and you know how to get money and you know and things like that," she said.

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Our 6abc data journalists crunched the numbers and found that the job sectors that have lost the most jobs amid the pandemic are retail, health care, restaurants and bars, and social services, which includes child care workers, and education.

And look at how that impacts women, in the Philadelphia area women make up 78-percent of the workers in social assistance, 76-percent in healthcare, and 66-percent in education services.

And the road is long. DeLuca and her colleagues have a lot of questions about how operations will go post-pandemic.

"How are you going to maintain your business right and your sales and stuff like that and grow your sales right with you have to keep a six foot, you know, barrier between you your guests and stuff like that," she said.
There is hope recruiters tell us companies and industries are hiring. The Home Depot, for instance, is adding jobs.

"Yeah right now in your area we actually have 330 openings for careers at Home Depot and that's full time, part time.. stores as well as distribution centers," said Dave White, The Home Depot spokesperson.

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The pandemic has created a need for new workers. Store associates are needed to help manage social distancing practices and to pull and stage orders for curbside pickup.

"All you need is the right kind of attitude, we'll teach you what you need to know, and help you build your career," said White.

The Home Depot said 90-percent of its store managers began as hourly associates. So did many in senior leadership. The company also says these newly created jobs will still be needed post-pandemic.


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