In addition to major disparities in health impacts, Black Americans have seen disproportionate economic impacts from the pandemic. Among demographic groups, Black women experienced the steepest drop in labor force participation and have had the slowest job recovery since January 2020. It took until 2018 for Black women’s employment to recover from the Great Recession, and now almost all of those hard-won gains have been erased.
In January 2021, 973,000 fewer Black women were employed than in February 2020, a decrease of 9.5% since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The losses in local and state government and leisure and hospitality have disproportionate impacts on Black women’s employment. Black women are nearly one in four public sector workers, and one in eight leisure and hospitality workers. Half a million Black women have left the labor market since January 2020.