The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report shows that the economy gained 916,000 net jobs in March 2021, the largest gain since August 2020. Women accounted for only 34.4% of net job gain last month, gaining 315,000 jobs while men gained 601,000. Women would need nearly 15 straight months of job gains at last month’s level to recover the over 4.6 million net jobs they have lost since February 2020.
In March 2021, 495,000 women entered the labor force, meaning they are now either working or looking for work. Even with this gain, the net number of women who have left the labor force since the start of the pandemic remains at over 1.8 million. Women’s labor force participation rate was 57.4% last month, up from 57.0% in February 2021, but still lower than their pre-pandemic labor force participation rate of 59.2% in February 2020. Before the pandemic, women’s labor force participation rate had not been as low as 57.4% since December 1988. By comparison, more than 1.9 million men have left the labor force since February 2020. Their labor force participation rate was 69.5% in March 2021, compared to 71.6% in February 2020.