The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report shows that the economy gained 266,000 net jobs in April 2021, marking a slowdown in job growth after 770,000 jobs were gained in March 2021.Women accounted for 60.5% of job gains last month, gaining 161,000 jobs while men gained 105,000. Nevertheless, women would need more than two years (28 straight months) of job gains at last month’s level to recover the over 4.5 million net jobs they have lost since February 2020.
After 2 months of gains in women’s labor force participation, that trend reversed in April, as 165,000 women ages 20 and over dropped out of the labor force, meaning they are neither working nor looking for work. Accounting for these losses, the net number of women who have left the labor force since the start of the pandemic is nearly 2 million. By comparison, 355,000 men entered the labor force in April 2021, meaning that more than 2.2 men entered the labor force last month for every woman who exited. Women’s labor force participation rate was 57.2% last month, down from 57.4% in March 2021, and 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 57.2% since October 1988. Nearly 1.6 million net men have left the labor force since February 2020, and men’s labor force participation rate was 69.8% in April 2021, compared to 71.6% in February 2020.