Women bolt from the workforce in September

September saw one of the largest drop-offs of women from the labor force since the pandemic began. The last time women left the workforce in such large numbers was in September 2020—and it’s not a coincidence, nonprofit news organization The 19th reports. 

The start of the school year during the pandemic has twice coincided with job losses for women, underscoring that sectors disproportionately employing women continue to be hard hit and child care centers are struggling. 

Last month, roughly 309,000 women left the U.S. labor force, meaning they were unemployed and not looking for work, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, all of the net gains in employment last month went to men. In September 2020, 863,000 women left the workforce.  

Part of the drop can be blamed on the summer rise of the Delta variant, which stalled job growth—especially in the hospitality industry—and prompted some schools to continue with various forms of remote education. Most of the impacted sectors are heavy employers of women. Read the full story.