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The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Job Losses among Black Women in the United States


  • Michelle Holder
  • Janelle Jones
  • Thomas Masterson


The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly appeared out of nowhere but changed nearly everything. As the pandemic unfolded, industries deemed nonessential were leveled. Many occupations in these industries are low-wage, and women constitute a greater share of America's low-wage labor force than men. Even as some workers were able to do their jobs from their homes, a high proportion of "essential workers" were African American, other people of color, women, and an intersection of these groups--women of color. The goal of this paper is to closely examine the contours, depth, and causes of COVID-19's impact on Black women's employment in the United States through the lenses of both feminist economic theory and stratification economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Holder & Janelle Jones & Thomas Masterson, 2020. "The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Job Losses among Black Women in the United States," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_963, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_963

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    Cited by:

    1. Kenneth A. Couch & Robert W. Fairlie & Huanan Xu, 2022. "The evolving impacts of the COVID‐19 pandemic on gender inequality in the US labor market: The COVID motherhood penalty," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 60(2), pages 485-507, April.
    2. Samuel R. Friedman & Ashly E. Jordan & David C. Perlman & Georgios K. Nikolopoulos & Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, 2022. "Emerging Zoonotic Infections, Social Processes and Their Measurement and Enhanced Surveillance to Improve Zoonotic Epidemic Responses: A “Big Events” Perspective," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(2), pages 1-11, January.
    3. Lan, Guijie & Song, Baojun & Yuan, Sanling, 2023. "Epidemic threshold and ergodicity of an SEIR model with vertical transmission under the telegraph noise," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    4. Ana Tribin & Karen García-Rojas & Paula Herrera-Idarraga & Leonardo Fabio Morales & Natalia Ramirez-Bustamante, 2023. "Shecession: The Downfall of Colombian Women During the Covid-19 Pandemic," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 158-193, October.
    5. Timothy J. Grigsby & Krista Howard & Jeffrey T. Howard & Jessica Perrotte, 2023. "COVID-19 Concerns, Perceived Stress, and Increased Alcohol Use Among Adult Women in the United States," Clinical Nursing Research, , vol. 32(1), pages 84-93, January.
    6. Jacob Jennings & Jacqueline Strenio & Iris Buder, 2022. "Occupational prestige: American stratification," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 575-598, October.
    7. Rosa Luz Durán, 2022. "COVID-19 and heterogeneous vulnerabilities in the Peruvian labor market: implications for social inequalities and for gender gaps," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(1), pages 129-156, April.
    8. Corsi, Marcella & Ilkkaracan, Ipek, 2022. "COVID-19, Gender and Labour," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1012, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Grace Armijos-Bravo & Segundo Camino-Mogro, 2023. "Covid-19 Lockdown in Ecuador: Are there Gender Differences in Unemployment?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(6), pages 833-853, June.
    10. Strenio, Jacqueline & van der Meulen Rodgers, Yana, 2023. "Integrating Gender into a Labor Economics Class," IZA Discussion Papers 15886, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item


    Occupational Segregation; Racial Discrimination; Gender Discrimination; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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