Employment data released on Friday, April 3 show dramatic job losses and sharp rises in unemployment for both women and men since February. Altogether 701,000 jobs were lost, the majority (58.8 percent or 412,188) by women. While these estimates of job losses are already outdated – since their collection in the second week of March new applications for unemployment reached almost ten times that level[1]–they point to the critical role of gender in understanding the impact of the COVID -19 crisis. Women’s job losses outnumbered men’s in almost all sectors of the economy (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Women’s Job Losses Exceed Men’s in almost all Sectors

Changes in the Number of Women and Men on Payroll between February and March 2020, by Sector of Industry

The biggest job losses were experienced in Leisure and Hospitality where women’s

[1] See U.S. Department of Labor (2020) “Unemployment insurance Weekly Claims.” News Release: April 2; <> (accessed April 5, 2020).