Men Lost More Jobs from 2020 to 2021

More men than women lost their jobs in the past year according to data from the Department of Labor Statistics, but there’s no denying the pandemic’s impact on the economy has taken its toll on men, women, and families (Fig. 1). Vice President Harris addressed the “pandemic [that] has touched every part of our lives. Families everywhere are shouldering a huge burden as homes have become classrooms and child-care centers, and uncertainty plagues each day,” she said in a Washington Post editorial on February 12. Although the Vice President addressed “families everywhere,” she immediately turned her attention to women affected by the pandemic, highlighting a Reuter’s article by Jonnelle Marte as evidence that women are the one’s suffering most during the pandemic and beginning her editorial with a story about a female hotel worker with a wife, son, and mother who rely on her income. The woman, M. Rocha, was furloughed from her job and her story is symbolic of the men and women across the country looking to return to work and needing to support their families. Vice President Harris continued her narrative, alluding to personal experiences shaped by the hardships of single-motherhood and childcare she experienced as a child before launching into the programs that will provide women relief. Ms. Rocha, like so many other American families, faces serious challenges, but Harris’s editorial selectively forgoes the challenges of male workers and their families at a time when male unemployment continues to rise at rates greater than females. The rhetoric from the White House concerning unemployment and procedure is alienating on many levels as discussions and policies regarding gender and unemployment are incomplete narratives.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, men lost more jobs over the past year than women. Neither Harris nor Marte address this downturn in their articles. This specious laxity speaks to a larger political favoritism also recognized in an extensive White House Gender Policy Council on women and girls that discriminates against boys and men at a time when COVID deaths, opioid deaths, suicide deaths, educational challenges, and unemployment impact boys and men in significantly greater numbers than women. (These issues have been addressed in articles by the Global Initiative for Boys & Men over the past month.) From January 2020 to January 2021, men lost 436,000 more jobs than women: men lost 2.32 million jobs and women lost 1.89 million jobs. The male unemployment rate (6.05%) was slighter higher than the female unemployment rate (5.95%) in January 2021. Over the course of the past year, men’s unemployment rose 2.9% (from 3.15% to 6.05%) and women’s unemployment rose 2.73% (from 3.23% to 5.95%). Yet much of the discussion remains centered around political constituencies that put the Biden-Harris ticket in the White House as the White House moves swiftly on gender policies that polarize males in the work force and their families. Male unemployment rose at higher numbers and rates than females (Table 1 & Table 2) in not-seasonally-adjusted and seasonally-adjusted unemployment numbers for men and women 16 and over and 20 and over. To be more precise about the unemployment numbers, it's important to recognize that men and women are equally suffering economic hardships during the pandemic. For the Vice President of the United States to discuss economic "struggles" without including the hardships of men, the White House disregards the women and men who count on male incomes for immediate and extended family members. The politics of Harris's editorial come at a time when unity and an open discourse regarding male and female unemployment demands greater transparency, attention, and compassion.

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