February 1, 2021

Contact: Contact: Erin Weber | 646-719-7021 |


“Without intervention to support women, these numbers will likely continue to lag until 2025,” said IWPR President and CEO C. Nicole Mason, referencing Congressional Budget Office estimates. “Last night’s budget resolution is a start, but this month’s employment numbers show women need targeted support to participate equitably in economic recovery.”

Washington, DC— The number of workers on payrolls improved only slightly during January, according to this month’s Employment Situation release. Women still hold 5.3 million fewer jobs on payroll than they did in February 2020, before COVID-19 recession hit, men 4.6 million fewer. Women are still only at 93 percent of pre-COVID payroll levels, men are at 94 percent.


  • Adult women’s employment declined by 21,000, men’s grew by 200,000 in January.
  • Sharp racial disparities persist among women’s unemployment, with rates 67 percent higher for Black women and 73 percent higher for Hispanic women than for white women.
  • Four in ten (39%) unemployed women (ages 16 and older), 1.9 million, have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. For those women who are unemployed, the risk of long-term unemployment varies little by race & ethnicity.

In a sign of the lack of progress towards a recovery for women, employment in child care services declined slightly since December, by 3,800 jobs on payroll, and is still is 16.2 percent below pre COVID-19 levels in February 2020, much less progress than for payroll employment overall, which is 6.5 percent below pre-COVID levels.

Women’s job losses have been compounded by racial and ethnic differences, and Hispanic women have faced the highest rate of unemployment among women (8.8 percent).

Black women saw a 1.2 percent increase in the rate of unemployment to a rate of 8.5 percent. This is likely due to an increase in those looking for work; Black women’s labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage points since December. White women’s unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent, a 10.5 percent decline since December.