When the tab is added up on COVID-19, women in the workforce will have paid dearly, according to a new labor force analysis by the Denver-based Common Sense Institute.
“According to the latest numbers, the 'shecession' continues,” Kristin Strohm, the business policy think tank's president and CEO said in a statement. “For months, the economic realities of the pandemic have served as a siren call to policy makers and elected officials. Without intentional action to address the barriers that are keeping women out of the work force, our economy cannot fully recover.”
Debbie Brown and Kristin Strohm: "The Common Sense Institute and Colorado Business Roundtable partnered to answer a simple question: What policies would enable a faster and more sustainable Colorado economic recovery?"
An examination of data from February through November found that labor force participation rates for women with children fell 8.6 percentage points over the 10 months. Colorado’s overall labor force participation, participation was just 2 percentage points lower in November than it was in February, which equates to about 90,000 fewer people in the workforce.
“This means that just over 1 in every 10 mothers who was in the labor force before the pandemic, was no longer actively participating in the labor force in November,” Strohm noted. “Even more disturbing, the gap between the male and female average monthly wage dropped 14%.”
Colorado’s overall unemployment rate remains at about 6.4%, where it's been since September, though a decline in employment from October to November disproportionately included people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the Common Sense Institute found.
The economy worsened over the holidays, recording higher unemployment insurance claims, lower average monthly wages for women and the total number of jobs, according to the analysis.
Read the full report by clicking here.
The project collected the skill, insights and hard data from 30 business leaders affiliated with the Colorado Business Roundtable and the economists and supporters of the Common Sense Institute think tank in Denver.
Chris Brown is the director of policy and research for the Denver-based Common Sense Institute, a think tank that applies hard numbers to hard questions facing Colorado policymakers and taxpayers.
The report flags the growing gap — 14% in February to 19% in September — in the labor force participation rate between men and women with kids: 93% participation for men with kids and a 74% for women with kids.