Women are more worried about layoffs than their male coworkers

July 28, 2020, 4:30 PM UTC

The 2008 housing bubble was brutal on guys like my dad, who worked in construction. His home-addition business, like so many of those of his peers, was dried up months before the financial crisis was in full swing. That’s why the Great Recession, which caused mass joblessness for men in those fields, was coined a “mancession.”

The opposite, to a degree, is occurring during our current economic upheaval: Women are more likely to lose their job than men. The unemployment rate for women soared from 3.4% in February to 16.2% in April, compared to the 3.6% to 13.5% jump for men. That joblessness rate for women has since declined to 11.7% in June, but it’s still above the same month’s 10.6% rate for men.

Not only are women losing their jobs at a higher rate, women are also more fearful of losing their job. Among female workers, 49% are worried about losing their job, compared to 35% of men, finds a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 2,802 U.S. adults between July 17 and 21.*

Just as 2008 rocked male-dominated fields like construction and manufacturing, the pandemic and shutdowns have hammered women-heavy industries like tourism, retail, education, and health care. Some of them, like tourism, are unlikely to fully rebound for years. For many women, unemployment may likely be long-term.

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,802 adults in the U.S. between July 17–21. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.


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